Skip to main content

Full text of "The monster and other stories"

See other formats









IF YOU ain't afraid, CO DO IT THF.N "* 










Copyright, 1899, by Harper & Brothers. 

All rights rtitrvtd. 



The Monster 3 

The Blue Hotel 109 

His New Mittens 165 



"'IF YOU ain't afraid, GO DO IT THEN*" .Frontispiece 


"' hen^ry johnson ! rats ! * " " i4 

"they bowed and smiled until a late 

hour" " 16 

"the band played a waltz " .... " 18 

"'what district?'" 20 

in the laboratory , " 30 

"they did not care much for john 

SHIPLEY " " 36 

NERY JOHNSON, I UHNS IT !'"... . " 58 


" ' it's about WHAT NOBODY TALKS OF 

MUCH,' SAID twelve" " TOO 





"iv'e got to go home'" 167 

"when he raised his voice to deny the charge" 168 

"'AW, COME on!'" 169 




OF food" 179 





"* MAM-MA ! MAM-MA.' OH, MAM-MA !'" 1S8 




Little Jim was, for the time, engine Num- 
ber ^6, and he was making the run between 
Syracuse and Rochester. He was fourteen 
minutes behind time, and the throttle was 
wide open. In consequence, when he swung 
around the curve at the flower-bed, a wheel 
of his cart destroyed a peony. Number :^6 
slowed down at once and looked guiltily at his 
father, who was mowing the lawn. The doctor 
had his back to this accident, and he continued 
to pace slowly to and fro, pushing the mower. 

Jim dropped the tongue of the cart. He 
looked at his father and at the broken flower. 
Finally he went to the peony and tried to 
stand it on its pins, resuscitated, but the spine 
of it was hurt, and it would only hang limply 
from his hand. Jim could do no reparation. 
He looked again towards his father. 

The Monster 

He went on to the lawn, very slowly, and 
kicking wretchedly at the turf. Presently his 
father came along with the whirring machine, 
while the sweet, new grass blades spun from 
the knives. In a low voice, Jim said, " Pa !" 
^The doctor was shaving this lawn as if it 
were a priest's chin. All during the season 
he had worked at it in the coolness and peace 
of the evenings after supper. Even in the 
shadow of the cherry - trees the grass was 
strong and healthy. Jim raised his voice a 
trifle. " Pa !" 

The doctor paused, and with the howl of the 
machine no longer occupying the sense, one 
could hear the robins in the cherry-trees 
arranging their affairs. Jim's hands were be- 
hind his back, and sometimes his fingers 
clasped and unclasped. Again he said, " Pa !" 
The child's fresh and rosy lip was lowered. 

The doctor stared down at his son, thrusting 
his head forward and frowning attentively. 
"What is it, Jimmie?" 

" Pa !" repeated the child at length. Then 
he raised his finger and pointed at the flower- 
bed. " There !" 

"What?" said the doctor, frowning more. 
"What is it, Jim?" 

After a period of silence, during which the 
child may have undergone a severe mental 

The Monster 

tumult, he raised his finger and repeated his 
former word " There !" The father had re- 
spected this silence with perfect courtesy. Af- 
terwards his glance carefully followed the direc- 
tion indicated by the child's finger, but he could 
see nothing which explained to him. " I don't 
understand what you mean, Jimmie," he said. 

It seemed that the importance of the whole 
thing had taken away the boy's vocabulary. 
He could only reiterate, " There !" 

The doctor mused upon the situation, but 
he could make nothing of it. At last he said, 
"Come, show me." 

Together they crossed the lawn towards the 
flower-bed. At some yards from the broken 
peony Jimmie began to lag. " There !" The 
word came almost breathlessly. 

"Where?" said the doctor. 

Jimmie kicked at the grass. " There !" he 

The doctor was obliged to go forward alone. 
After some trouble he found the subject of the 
incident, the broken flower. Turning then, 
he saw the child lurking at the rear and scan- 
ning his countenance. 

The father reflected. After a time he said, 
"Jimmie, come here." With an infinite 
modesty of demeanor the child came forward. 
"Jimmie, how did this happen?" 

The Monster 

The child answered, " Now I was playin' 
train and now I runned over it." 

"You were doing what?" 

" I was playin' train." 

The father reflected again. " Well, Jimmie," 
he said, slowly, " I guess you had better not 
play train any more to-day. Do you think 
you had better ?" 

"No, sir," said Jimmie. 

During the delivery of the judgment the 
child had not faced his father, and afterwards 
he went away, with his head lowered, shuffling 
his feet. 


It was apparent from Jimmie's manner that 
he felt some kind of desire to efface himself. 
He went down to the stable. Henry Johnson, 
the negro who cared for the doctor's horses, 
was sponging the buggy. He grinned frater- 
nally when he saw Jimmie coming. These 
two were pals. In regard to almost every- 
thing in life they seemed to have minds pre- 
cisely alike. Of course there were points of 
emphatic divergence. For instance, it was 
plain from Henry's talk that he was a very 
handsome negro, and he was known to be a 
light, a weight, and an eminence in the suburb 

The Monster 

of the town, where lived the larger number of 
the negroes, and obviously this glory was over 
Jimmie's horizon ; but he vaguely appreciated 
it and paid deference to Henry for it mainly 
because Henry appreciated it and deferred to 
himself. However, on all points of conduct 
as related to the doctor, who was the moon, 
they were in complete but unexpressed under- 
standing. Whenever Jimmie became the vic- 
tim of an eclipse he went to the stable to solace 
himself with Henry's crimes. Henry, with the 
elasticity of his race, could usually provide a 
sin to place himself on a footing with the dis- 
graced one. Perhaps he would remember that 
he had forgotten to put the hitching-strap in 
the back of the buggy on some recent occasion, 
and had been reprimanded by the doctor. 
Then these two would commune subtly and 
without words concerning their moon, holding 
themselves sympathetically as people who had 
committed similar treasons. On the other 
hand, Henry would sometimes choose to abso- 
lutely repudiate this idea, and when Jimmie 
appeared in his shame would bully him most 
virtuously, preaching with assurance the pre- 
cepts of the doctor's creed, and pointing out 
to Jimmie all his abominations. Jimmie did 
not discover that this was odious in his com- 
rade. He accepted it and lived in its shadow 

The Monster 

with humility, merely trying- to conciliate the 
saintly Henry with acts of deference. Won by 
this attitude, Henry would sometimes allow 
the child to enjoy the felicity of squeezing the 
sponge over a buggy-wheel, even when Jimmie 
was still gory from unspeakable deeds. 

Whenever Henry dwelt for a time in sack- 
cloth, Jimmie did not patronize him at all. 
This was a justice of his age, his condition. 
He did not know. Besides, Henry could drive 
a horse, and Jimmie had a full sense of this 
sublimity. Henry personally conducted the 
moon during the splendid journeys through 
the country roads, where farms spread on all 
sides, with sheep, cows, and other marvels 

" Hello, Jim !" said Henry, poising his sponge. 
Water was dripping from the buggy. Some- 
times the horses in the stalls stamped thunder- 
ingly on the pine floor. There was an atmos- 
phere of hay and of harness. 

For a minute Jimmie refused to take an 
interest in anything. He was very downcast. 
He could not even feel the wonders of wagon- 
washing. Henry, while at his work, narrowly 
observed him. 

"Your pop done wallop yer, didn't he?" he 
said at last. 

** No," said Jimmie, defensively ; " he didn't." 

The Monster 

After this casual remark Henry continued 
his labor, with a scowl of occupation. Presently 
he said : " I done tol' yer many's th' time not 
to go a-foolin' an' a-projjeckin' with them 
flowers. Yer pop don' like it nohow." As a 
matter of fact, Henry had never mentioned 
flowers to the boy. 

Jimmie preserved a gloomy silence, so Henry 
began to use seductive wiles in this affair of 
washing a wagon. It was not until he began 
to spin a wheel on the tree, and the sprinkling 
water flew everywhere, that the boy was visibly 
moved. He had been seated on the sill of the 
carriage-house door, but at the beginning of* 
this ceremony he arose and circled towards 
the buggy, with an interest that slowly con- 
sumed the remembrance of a late disgrace. 

Johnson could then display all the dignity 
of a man whose duty it was to protect Jimmie 
from a splashing. " Look out, boy ! look out ! 
You done gwi' spile yer pants. I raikon your 
mommer don't 'low this foolishness, she know 
it. I ain't gwi' have you round yere spilin' 
yer pants, an' have Mis' Trescott light on me 
pressen'ly. 'Deed I ain't." 

He spoke with an air of great irritation, but 

he was not annoyed at all. This tone was 

merely a part of his importance. In reality 

he was always delighted to have the child there 


The Monster 

to witness the business of the stable. For one 
thing, Jimmie was invariably overcome with 
reverence when he was told how beautifully 
a harness was polished or a horse groomed. 
Henry explained each detail of this kind with 
unction, procuring great joy from the child's 


After Johnson had taken his supper in the 
kitchen, he went to his loft in the carriage- 
house and dressed himself with much care. 
No belle of a court circle could bestow more 
mind on a toilet than did Johnson. On second 
thought, he was more like a priest arraying 
himself for some parade of the church. As he 
emerged from his room and sauntered down 
the carriage-drive, no one would have suspect- 
ed him of ever having washed a buggy. 

It was not altogether a matter of the laven- 
der trousers, nor yet the straw hat with its 
bright silk band. The change was somewhere 
far in the interior of Henry. But there was 
no cake-walk hyperbole in it. He was sim- 
ply a quiet, well-bred gentleman of position, 
wealth, and other necessary achievements out 
for an evening stroll, and he had never washed 
a wagon in his life. 



The Monster 

In the morning, when in his working-clothes, 
he had met a friend" Hello, Pete !" " Hello, 
Henry !" Now, in his effulgence, he encoun- 
tered this same friend. His bow was not at 
all haughty. If it expressed anything, it ex- 
pressed consummate generosity " Good-even- 
in', Misteh Washington." Pete, who was very 
dirty, being at work in a potato-patch, respond- 
ed in a mixture of abasement and appreciation 
"Good-evenin', Misteh Johnsing." 

The shimmering blue of the electric arc- 
lamps was strong in the main street of the 
town. At numerous points it was conquered 
by the orange glare of the outnumbering gas- 
lights in the windows of shops. Through this 
radiant lane moved a crowd, which culminated 
in a throng before the post-office, awaiting the 
distribution of the evening mails. Occasional- 
ly there came into it a shrill electric street-car, 
the motor singing like a cageful of grasshop- 
pers, and possessing a great gong that clanged 
forth both warnings and simple noise. At the 
little theatre, which was a varnish and red- 
plush miniature of one of the famous New 
York theatres, a company of strollers was to play 
" East Lynne." The young men of the town 
were mainly gathered at the corners, in dis- 
tinctive groups, which expressed various shades 
and lines of chumship, and had little to do 

The Monster 

with any social gradations. There they dis- 
cussed everything with critical insight, passing 
the whole town in review as it swarmed in the 
street. When the gongs of the electric cars 
ceased for a moment to harry the ears, there 
could be heard the sound of the feet of the 
leisurely crowd on the bluestone pavement, 
and it was like the peaceful evening lashing at 
the shore of a lake. At the foot of the hill, 
where two lines of maples sentinelled the way, 
an electric lamp glowed high among the em- 
bowering branches, and made most wonderful 
shadow-etchings on the road below it. 

When Johnson appeared amid the throng a 
member of one of the profane groups at a 
corner instantly telegraphed news of this ex- 
traordinary arrival to his companions. They 
hailed him. " Hello, Henry ! Going to walk 
for a cake to-night?" 

"Ain't he smooth?" 

''Why, you've got that cake right in your 
pocket, Henry !" 

"Throw out your chest a little more." 

Henry was not ruffled in any way by these 
quiet admonitions and compliments. In reply 
he laughed a supremely good-natured, chuck- 
ling laugh, which nevertheless expressed an 
underground complacency of superior metal. 

Young Griscom, the lawyer, was just emerg- 

The Monster 

ing from Relfsnyder's barber shop, rubbing his 
chin contentedly. On the steps he dropped 
his hand and looked with wide eyes into the 
crowd. Suddenly he bolted back into the 
shop. " Wow !" he cried to the parliament ; 
" you ought to see the coon that's coming !" 

Reifsnyder and his assistant instantly poised 
their razors high and turned towards the win- 
dow. Two belathered heads reared from the 
chairs. The electric shine in the street caused 
an effect like water to them who looked through 
the glass from the yellow glamour of Relfsny- 
der's shop. In fact, the people without resem- 
bled the inhabitants of a great aquarium that 
here had a square pane in it. Presently into 
this frame swam the graceful form of Henry 

" Chee !" said Reifsnyder. He and his as- 
sistant with one accord threw their obligations 
to the winds, and leaving their lathered vic- 
tims helpless, advanced to the window. " Ain't 
he a taisy ?" said Reifsnyder, marvelling. 

But the man in the first chair, with a griev- 
ance in his mind, had found a weapon. " Why, 
that's only Henry Johnson, you blamed idiots ! 
Come on now, Reif, and shave me. What do 
you think I am a mummy ?" 

Reifsnyder turned, in a great excitement. 
" I bait you any money that vas net Henry 

The Monster 

Johnson! Henry Johnson! Rats!" The 
scorn put into this last word made it an ex- 
plosion. " That man was a Pullman-car porter 
or someding. How could that be Henry John- 
son ?" he demanded, turbulently. "You vas 

The man in the first chair faced the barber 
in a storm of indignation. " Didn't I give him 
those lavender trousers ?" he roared. 

And young Griscom, who had remained at- 
tentively at the window, said : " Yes, I guess 
that was Henry. It looked like him." 

"Oh, veil," said Reifsnyder, returning to his 
business, " if you think so ! Oh, veil !" He 
implied that he was submitting for the sake of 

Finally the man in the second chair, mum- 
bling from a mouth made timid by adjacent 
lather, said : " That was Henry Johnson all 
right. Why, he always dresses like that when 
he wants to make a front ! He's the biggest 
dude in town anybody knows that." 

"Chinger!" said Reifsnyder. 

Henry was not at all oblivious of the wake 
of wondering ejaculation that streamed out 
behind him. On other occasions he had reaped 
this same joy, and he always had an eye for the 
demonstration. With a face beaming with 
happiness he turned away from the scene of 

The Monster 

his victories into a narrow side street, where 
the electric light still hung high, but only to 
exhibit a row of tumble-down houses leaning 
together like paralytics. 

The saffron Miss Bella Farragut, in a calico 
frock, had been crouched on the front stoop, 
gossiping at long range, but she espied her 
approaching caller at a distance. She dashed 
around the corner of the house, galloping like 
a horse. Henry saw it all, but he preserved 
the polite demeanor of a guest when a waiter 
spills claret down his cuff. In this awkward 
situation he was simply perfect. 

The duty of receiving Mr. Johnson fell upon 
Mrs. Farragut, because Bella, in another room, 
was scrambling wildly into her best gown. 
The fat old woman met him with a great ivory 
smile, sweeping back with the door, and bow- 
ing low. "Walk in, Misteh Johnson, walk in. 
How is you dis ebenin', Misteh Johnson how 
is you ?" 

Henry's face showed like a reflector as he 
bowed and bowed, bending almost from his 
head to his ankles. " Good-evenin', Mis' Fa'gut ; 
good-evenin'. How is you dis evenin' ? Is all 
you' folks well. Mis' Fa'gut ?" 

After a great deal of kowtow, they were 
planted in two chairs opposite each other in 
the living-room. Here they exchanged the 

The Monster 

most tremendous civilities, until Miss Bella 
swept into the room, when there was more kow- 
tow on all sides, and a smiling show of teeth 
that was like an illumination. 

The cooking-stove was of course in this draw- 
ing-room, and on the fire was some kind of a 
long-winded stew. Mrs. Farragut was obliged 
to arise and attend to it from time to time. 
Also young Sim came in and went to bed on 
his pallet in the corner. But to all these do- 
mesticities the three maintained an absolute 
dumbness. They bowed and smiled and ig- 
nored and imitated until a late hour, and if 
they had been the occupants of the most gor- 
geous salon in the world they could not have 
been more like three monkeys. 

After Henry had gone, Bella, who encouraged 
herself in the appropriation of phrases, said, 
" Oh, ma, isn't he divine ?" 


A Saturday evening was a sign always for a 
larger crowd to parade the thoroughfare. In 
summer the band played until ten o'clock in 
the little park. Most of the young men of the 
town affected to be superior to this band, even 
to despise it ; but in the still and fragrant even- 

The Monster 

ings they invariably turned out in force, be- 
cause the girls were sure to attend this concert, 
strolling slowly over the grass, linked closely 
in pairs, or preferably in threes, in the curious 
public dependence upon one another which was 
their inheritance. There was no particular so- 
cial aspect to this gathering, save that group re- 
garded group with interest, but mainly in si- 
lence. Perhaps one girl would nudge another 
girl and suddenly say, " Look ! there goes Ger- 
tie Hodgson and her sister !" And they would 
appear to regard this as an event of impor- 

On a particular evening a rather large com- 
pany of young men were gathered on the side- 
walk that edged the park. They remained thus 
beyond the borders of the festivities because of 
their dignity, which would not exactly allow 
them to appear in anything which was so much 
fun for the younger lads. These latter were 
careering madly through the crowd, precipitat- 
ing minor accidents from time to time, but 
usually fleeing like mist swept by the wind 
before retribution could lay hands upon 

The band played a waltz which involved a 

gift of prominence to the bass horn, and one of 

the young men on the sidewalk said that the 

music reminded him of the new engines on the 

B 17 

The Monster 

hill pumping water into the reservoir. A sim- 
ilarity of this kind was not inconceivable, but 
the young man did not say it because he dis- 
liked the band's playing. He said it because it 
was fashionable to say that manner of thing 
concerning the band. However, over in the 
stand, Billie Harris, who played the snare-drum, 
was always surrounded by a throng of boys, 
who adored his every whack. 

After the mails from New York and Roches- 
ter had been finally distributed, the crowd from 
the post-office added to the mass already in the 
park. The wind waved the leaves of the maples, 
and, high in the air, the blue -burning globes 
of the arc lamps caused the wonderful tra- 
ceries of leaf shadows on the ground. When 
the light fell upon the upturned face of a girl, 
it caused it to glow with a wonderful pallor. 
A policeman came suddenly from the darkness 
and chased a gang of obstreperous little boys. 
They hooted him from a distance. The leader 
of the band had some of the mannerisms of the 
great musicians, and during a period of silence 
the crowd smiled when they saw him raise his 
hand to his brow, stroke it sentimentally, and 
glance upward with a look of poetic anguish. 
In the shivering light, which gave to the park 
an effect like a great vaulted hall, the throng 
swarmed, with a gentle murmur of dresses 

The Monster 

switching the turf, and with a steady hum of 

Suddenly, without preliminary bars, there 
arose from afar the great hoarse roar of a fac- 
tory whistle. It raised and swelled to a sinis- 
ter note, and then it sang on the night wind 
one long call that held the crowd in the park 
immovable, speechless. The band-master had 
been about to vehemently let fall his hand to 
start the band on a thundering career through 
a popular march, but, smitten by this giant 
voice from the night, his hand dropped slowly 
to his knee, and, his mouth agape, he looked at 
his men in silence. The cry died away to a 
wail and then to stillness. It released the 
muscles of the company of young men on the 
sidewalk, who had been like statues, posed 
eagerly, lithely, their ears turned. And then 
they wheeled upon each other simultaneously, 
and, in a single explosion, they shouted, "One !" 

Again the sound swelled in the night and 
roared its long ominous cry, and as it died 
away the crowd of young men wheeled upon 
each other and, in chorus, yelled, " Two !" 

There was a moment of breathless waiting. 
Then they bawled, " Second district !" In 
a flash the company of indolent and cynical 
young men had vanished like a snowball dis- 
rupted by dynamite. 


The Monster 

Jake Rogers was the first man to reach the 
home of Tuscarora Hose Company Number 
Six. He had wrenched his key from his pocket 
as he tore down the street, and he jumped at 
the spring-lock like a demon. As the doors 
flew back before his hands he leaped and kicked 
the wedges from a pair of wheels, loosened a 
tongue from its clasp, and in the glare of the 
electric light which the town placed before each 
of its hose-houses the next comers beheld the 
spectacle of Jake Rogers bent like hickory in 
the manfulness of his pulling, and the heavy 
cart was moving slowly towards the doors. 
Four men joined him at the time, and as they 
swung with the cart out into the street, dark 
figures sped towards them from the ponderous 
shadows back of the electric lamps. Some 
set up the inevitable question, '* What dis- 
trict r 

" Second," was replied to them in a compact 
howl. Tuscarora Hose Company Number Six 
swept on a perilous wheel into Niagara Avenue, 
and as the men, attached to the cart by the 
rope which had been paid out from the wind- 
lass under the tongue, pulled madly in their 
fervor and abandon, the gong under the axle 

The Monster 

clanged incitingly. And sometimes the same 
cry was heard, "What district?" 

" Second." 

On a grade Johnnie Thorpe fell, and exercis- 
ing a singular muscular ability, rolled out in 
time from the track of the on-coming wheel, 
and arose, dishevelled and aggrieved, casting a 
look of mournful disenchantment upon the 
black crowd that poured after the machine. 
The cart seemed to be the apex of a dark wave 
that was whirling as if it had been a broken 
dam. Back of the lad were stretches of lawn, 
and in that direction front-doors were banged 
by men who hoarsely shouted out into the 
clamorous avenue, "What district?" 

At one of these houses a woman came to the 
door bearing a lamp, shielding her face from 
its rays with her hands. Across the cropped 
grass the avenue represented to her a kind 
of black torrent, upon which, nevertheless, 
fled numerous miraculous figures upon bicy- 
cles. She did not know that the towering 
light at the corner was continuing its nightly 

Suddenly a little boy somersaulted around 
the corner of the house as if he had been pro- 
jected down a flight of stairs by a catapultian 
boot. He halted himself in front of the house 
by dint of a rather extraordinary evolution 


The Monster 

with his legs. " Oh, ma," he gasped, " can I 
go ? Can I, ma ?" 

She straightened with the coldness of the ex- 
terior mother -judgment, although the hand 
that held the lamp trembled slightly. " No, 
Willie ; you had better come to bed." 

Instantly he began to buck and fume like a 
mustang. " Oh, ma," he cried, contorting him- 
self "oh, ma, can't I go? Please, ma, can't I 
go? Can't I go, ma ?" 

" It's half-past nine now, Willie." 

He ended by wailing out a compromise : 
"Well, just down to the corner, ma? Just 
down to the corner ?" 

From the avenue came the sound of rushing 
men who wildly shouted. Somebody had grap- 
pled the bell-rope in the Methodist church, and 
now over the town rang this solemn and ter- 
rible voice, speaking from the clouds. Moved 
from its peaceful business, this bell gained a 
new spirit in the portentous night, and it 
swung the heart to and fro, up and down, with 
each peal of it. 

"Just down to the corner, ma?" 

"Willie, it's half-past nine now." 

The Monster 


The outlines of the house of Dr. Trescott had 
faded quietly into the evening, hiding a shape 
such as we call Queen Anne against the pall of 
the blackened sky. The neighborhood was at 
this time so quiet, and seemed so devoid of ob- 
structions, that Hannigan's dog thought it a 
good opportunity to prowl in forbidden pre- 
cincts, and so came and pawed Trescott's lawn, 
growling, and considering himself a formidable 
beast. Later, Peter Washington strolled past 
the house and whistled, but there was no dim 
light shining from Henry's loft, and presently 
Peter went his way. The rays from the street, 
creeping in silvery waves over the grass, caused 
the row of shrubs along the drive to throw a 
clear, bold shade. 

A wisp of smoke came from one of the win- 
dows at the end of the house and drifted quietly 
into the branches of a cherry-tree. Its com- 
panions followed it in slowly increasing num- 
bers, and finally there was a current controlled 
by invisible banks which poured into the fruit- 
laden boughs of the cherry-tree. It was no 
more to be noted than if a troop of dim and 
silent gray monkeys had been climbing a grape- 
vine into the clouds. 


The Monster 

i'^ After a moment the window brightened as 
' if the four panes of it had been stained with 
blood, and a quick ear might have been led to 
imagine the fire-imps calling and calling, clan 
joining clan, gathering to the colors. From the 
street, however, the house maintained its dark 
quiet, insisting to a passer-by that it was the 
safe dwelling of people who chose to retire early 
to tranquil dreams. No one could have heard 
this low droning of the gathering clans. 

Suddenly the panes of the red window tinkled 
and crashed to the ground, and at other win- 
dows there suddenly reared other flames, like 
bloody spectres at the apertures of a haunted 
house. This outbreak had been well planned, 
as if by professional revolutionists. 

A man's voice suddenly shouted: "Fire! 
Fire ! Fire !" Hannigan had flung his pipe 
frenziedly from him because his lungs de- 
manded room. He tumbled down from his 
perch, swung over the fence, and ran shouting 
towards the front-door of the Trescotts', Then 
he hammered on the door, using his fists as if 
they were mallets. Mrs. Trescott instantly 
came to one of the windows on the second 
floor. Afterwards she knew she had been about 
to say, " The doctor is not at home, but if you 
will leave your name, I will let him know as 
soon as he comes." 


The Monster 

Hannigan's bawling was for a minute inco- 
herent, but she understood that it was not 
about croup. 

'^What?" she said, raising the window 

"Your house is on fire! You're all ablaze! 
Move quick if " His cries were resounding 
in the street as if it were a cave of echoes. 
Many feet pattered swiftly on the stones. 
There was one man who ran with an almost 
fabulous speed. He wore lavender trousers. 
A straw hat with a bright silk band was held 
half crumpled in his hand. 

As Henry reached the front-door, Hannigan 
had just broken the lock with a kick. A thick 
cloud of smoke poured over them, and Henry, 
ducking his head, rushed into it. From Han- 
nigan's clamor he knew only one thing, but it 
turned him blue with horror. In the hall a 
lick of flame had found the cord that supported 
'' Signing the Declaration." The engraving 
slumped suddenly down at one end, and then 
dropped to the floor, where it burst with the 
sound of a bomb. The fire was already roar- 
ing like a winter wind among the pines. 

At the head of the stairs Mrs. Trescott was 

waving her arms as if they were two reeds. 

*' Jimmie ! Save Jimmie !" she screamed in 

Henry's face. He plunged past her and disap- 


The Monster 

peared, taking the long-familiar routes among 
these upper chambers, where he had once held 
office as a sort of second assistant house-maid. 

Hannigan had followed him up the stairs, 
and grappled the arm of the maniacal woman 
there. His face was black with rage. " You 
must come down," he bellowed. 

She would only scream at him in reply: 
"jimmie! Jimmie! Save Jimmie !" But he 
dragged her forth while she babbled at him. 

As they swung out into the open air a man 
ran across the lawn, and seizing a shutter, pulled 
it from its hinges and flung it far out upon the 
grass. Then he frantically attacked the other 
shutters one by one. It was a kind of tempo- 
rary insanity. 

" Here, you," howled Hannigan, '* hold Mrs. 
Trescott And stop " 

The news had been telegraphed by a twist of 
the wrist of a neighbor who had gone to the 
fire-box at the corner, and the time when Han- 
nigan and his charge struggled out of the 
house was the time when the whistle roared its 
hoarse night call, smiting the crowd in the 
park, causing the leader of the band, who was 
about to order the first triumphal clang of a 
military march, to let his hand drop slowly to 
his knees. 

The Monster 


Henry pawed awkwardly through the smoke 
in the upper halls. He had attempted to guide 
himself by the walls, but they were too hot. 
The paper was crimpling, and he expected at 
any moment to have a flame burst from under 
his hands. 

" Jimmie !" 

He did not call very loud, as if in fear that 
the humming flames below would overhear 

"Jimmie! Oh, Jimmie !" 

Stumbling and panting, he speedily reached 
the entrance to Jimmie's room and flung open 
the door. The little chamber had no smoke in 
it at all. It was faintly illuminated by a beau- 
tiful rosy light reflected circuitously from the 
flames that were consuming the house. The 
boy had apparently just been aroused by the 
noise. He sat in his bed, his lips apart, his 
eyes wide, while upon his little white -robed 
figure played caressingly the light from the 
fire. As the door flew open he had before him 
this apparition of his pal, a terror-stricken ne- 
gro, all tousled and with wool scorching, who 
leaped upon him and bore him up in a blanket 
as if the whole affair were a case of kidnapping 

The Monster 

by a dreadful robber chief. Without waiting 
to go through the usual short but complete 
process of wrinkling up his face, Jimmie let 
out a gorgeous bawl, which resembled the ex- 
pression of a calf's deepest terror. As John- 
son, bearing him, reeled into the smoke of the 
hall, he flung his arms about his neck and 
buried his face in the blanket. He called twice 
in muffled tones : "Mam-ma ! Mam-ma!" 

When Johnson came to the top of the stairs 
with his burden, he took a quick step back- 
ward. Through the smoke that rolled to him 
he could see that the lower hall was all ablaze. 
He cried out then in a howl that resembled 
Jimmie's former achievement. His legs gained 
a frightful faculty of bending sideways. Swing- 
ing about precariously on these reedy legs, he 
made his way back slowly, back along the up- 
per hall. From the way of him then, he had 
given up almost all idea of escaping from the 
burning house, and with it the desire. He was 
submitting, submitting because of his fathers, 
bending his mind in a most perfect slavery to 
this conflagration. 

He now clutched Jimmie as unconsciously 
as when, running toward the house, he had 
clutched the hat with the bright silk band. 

Suddenly he remembered a little private 
staircase which led from a bedroom to an 

The Monster , 

apartment which the doctor had fitted up as a 
laboratory and work-house, where he used some 
of his leisure, and also hours when he might 
have been sleeping, in devoting himself to ex- 
periments which came in the way of his study 
and interest. 

When Johnson recalled this stairway the sub- 
mission to the blaze departed instantly. He 
had been perfectly familiar with it, but his con- 
fusion had destroyed the memory of it. 

In his sudden momentary apathy there had 
been little that resembled fear, but now, as a 
way of safety came to him, the old frantic ter- 
ror caught him. He was no longer creature 
to the flames, and he was afraid of the battle 
with them. It was a singular and swift set of 
alternations in which he feared twice without 
submission, and submitted once without fear. 

" Jimmie !" he wailed, as he staggered on his 
way. He wished this little inanimate body at 
his breast to participate in his tremblings. 
But the child had lain limp and still during 
these headlong charges and countercharges, 
and no sign came from him. 

Johnson passed through two rooms and came 
to the head of the stairs. As he opened the 
door great billows of smoke poured out, but 
gripping Jimmie closer, he plunged down 
through them. All manner of odors assailed 


The Monster 

him during this flight. They seemed to be 
alive with envy, hatred, and malice. At the 
entrance to the laboratory he confronted a 
strange spectacle. The room was like a gar- 
den in the region where might be burning 
flowers. Flames of violet, crimson, green, blue, 
orange, and purple were blooming everywhere. 
There was one blaze that was precisely the hue 
of a delicate coral. In another place was a 
mass that lay merely in phosphorescent inac- 
tion like a pile of emeralds. But all these mar- 
vels were to be seen dimly through clouds of 
heaving, turning, deadly smoke. 

Johnson halted for a moment on the thresh- 
old. He cried out again in the negro wail that 
had in it the sadness of the swamps. Then 
he rushed across the room. An orange-colored 
flame leaped like a panther at the lavender 
trousers. This animal bit deeply into Johnson. 
There was an explosion at one side, and sud- 
denly before him there reared a delicate, trem- 
bling sapphire shape like a fairy lady. With a 
quiet smile she blocked his path and doomed 
him and Jimmie. Johnson shrieked, and then 
ducked in the manner of his race in fights. He 
aimed to pass under the left guard of the sap- 
phire lady. But she was swifter than eagles, 
and her talons caught in him as he plunged 
past her. Bowing his head as if his neck had 


The Monster 

been struck, Johnson lurched forward, twisting 
this way and that way. He fell on his back. 
The still form in the blanket flung from his 
arms, rolled to the edge of the floor and be- 
neath the window. 

Johnson had fallen with his head at the base 
of an old-fashioned desk. There was a row of 
jars upon the top of this desk. For the most 
part, they were silent amid this rioting, but 
there was one which seemed to hold a scintil- 
lant and writhing serpent. 

Suddenly the glass splintered, and a ruby- 
red snakelike thing poured its thick length 
out upon the top of the old desk. It coiled 
and hesitated, and then began to swim a lan- 
guorous way down the mahogany slant. At 
the angle it waved its sizzling molten head to 
and fro over the closed eyes of the man be* 
neath it. Then, in a moment, with a mystic 
impulse, it moved again, and the red snake 
flowed directly down into Johnson's upturned 

Afterwards the trail of this creature seemed 
to reek, and amid flames and low explosions 
drops like red-hot jewels pattered softly down 
it at leisurely intervals. 

The Monster 


Suddenly all roads led to Dr. Trescott's. 
The whole town flowed towards one point. 
Chippeway Hose Company Number One toiled 
desperately ,up Bridge Street Hill even as the 
Tuscaroras came in an impetuous sweep down 
Niagara Avenue. Meanwhile the machine of 
the hook-and-ladder experts from across the 
creek was spinning on its way. The chief of 
the fire department had been playing poker 
in the rear room of Whiteley's cigar-store, but 
at the first breath of the alarm he sprang 
through the door like a man escaping with 
the kitty. 

In Whilomville, on these occasions, there 
was always a number of people who instantly 
turned their attention to the bells in the 
churches and school - houses. The bells not 
only emphasized the alarm, but it was the 
habit to send these sounds rolling across the 
sky in a stirring brazen uproar until the flames 
were practically vanquished. There was also 
a kind of rivalry as to which bell should be 
made to produce the greatest din. Even the 
Valley Church, four miles away among the 
farms, had heard the voices of its brethren, 
and immediately added a quaint little yelp. 

The Monster 

Dr. Trescott had been driving homeward, 
slowly smoking a cigar, and feeling glad that 
this last case was now in complete obedience 
to him, like a wild animal that he had sub- 
dued, when he heard the long whistle, and 
chirped to his horse under the unlicensed but 
perfectly distinct impression that a fire had 
broken out in Oakhurst, a new and rather 
high-flying suburb of the town which was at 
least two miles from his own home. But in 
the second blast and in the ensuing silence he 
read the designation of his own district. He 
was then only a few blocks from his house. 
He took out the whip and laid it lightly on 
the mare. Surprised and frightened at this 
extraordinary action, she leaped forward, and 
as the reins straightened like steel bands, the 
doctor leaned backward a trifle. When the 
mare whirled him up to the closed gate he was 
wondering whose house could be afire. The 
man who had rung the signal-box yelled some- 
thing at him, but he already knew. He left 
the mare to her will. 

In front of his door was a maniacal woman in 
a wrapper. " Ned !" she screamed at sight of 
him. "Jimmie! Save Jimmie !" 

Trescott had grown hard and chill. " Where ?" 
he said. "Where?" 

Mrs. Trescott's voice began to bubble. " Up 
c 33 

The Monster 

up up " She pointed at the second-story 

Hannigan was already shouting : " Don't go 
in that way ! You can't go in that way !" 

Trescott ran around the corner of the house 
and disappeared from them. He knew from 
the view he had taken of the main hall that it 
would be impossible to ascend from there. His 
hopes were fastened now to the stairway which 
led from the laboratory. The door which open- 
ed from this room out upon the lawn was 
fastened with a bolt and lock, but he kicked 
close to the lock and then close to the bolt. 
The door with a loud crash flew back. The 
doctor recoiled from the roll of smoke, and 
then bending low, he stepped into the garden 
of iDurning flowers. On the floor his stinging 
eyes could make out a form in a smouldering 
blanket near the window. Then, as he carried 
his son towards the door, he saw that the whole 
lawn seemed now alive with men and boys, the 
leaders in the great charge that the whole 
town was making. They seized him and his 
burden, and overpowered him in wet blankets 
and water. 

But Hannigan was howling : "Johnson is in 
there yet ! Henry Johnson is in there yet ! 
He went in after the kid ! Johnson is in there 
yet !" 


The Monster 

These cries penetrated to the sleepy senses 
of Trescott, and he struggled with his captors, 
swearing, unknown to him and to them, all 
the deep blasphemies of his medical - student 
days. He rose to his feet and went again 
towards the door of the laboratory. They en- 
deavored to restrain him, although they were 
much affrighted at him. 

But a young man who was a brakeman on 
the railway, and lived in one of the rear streets 
near the Trescotts, had gone into the labora- 
tory and brought forth a thing which he laid 
on the grass. 


There were hoarse commands from in front 
of the house. "Turn on your water, Five!" 
" Let 'er go, One !" The gathering crowd 
swayed this way and that way. The flames, 
towering high, cast a wild red light on their 
faces. There came the clangor of a gong from 
along some adjacent street. The crowd ex- 
claimed at it. "Here comes Number Three!" 
"That's Three a - comin' !" A panting and 
irregular mob dashed into view, dragging a 
hose-cart. A cry of exultation arose from the 
little boys. " Here's Three !" The lads wel- 
comed Never - Die Hose Company Number 

The Monster 

Three as if it was composed of a chariot dragged 
by a band of gods. The perspiringcitizens flung 
themselves into the fray. The boys danced in 
impish joy at the displays of prowess. They 
acclaimed the approach of Number Two. They 
welcomed Number Four with cheers. They 
were so deeply moved by this whole affair that 
they bitterly guyed the late appearance of the 
hook and ladder company, whose heavy appa- 
ratus had almost stalled them on the Bridge 
Street hill. The lads hated and feared a fire, 
of course. They did not particularly want to 
have anybody's house burn, but still it was 
fine to see the gathering of the companies, and 
amid a great noise to watch their heroes per- 
form all manner of prodigies. 

They were divided into parties over the 
worth of different companies, and supported 
their creeds with no small violence. For in- 
stance, in that part of the little city where 
Number Four had its home it would be most 
daring for a boy to contend the superiority 
of any other company. Likewise, in another 
quarter, where a strange boy was asked which 
fire company was the best in Whilom ville, he 
was expected to answer *' Number One." Feuds, 
which the boys forgot and remembered accord- 
ing to chance or the importance of some re- 
cent event, existed all through the town. 


The Monster 

They did not care much for John Shipley, 
the chief of the department. It was true that 
he went to a fire with the speed of a falling 
angel, but when there he invariably lapsed into 
a certain still mood, which was almost a pre- 
occupation, moving leisurely around the burn- 
ing structure and surveying it, puffing mean- 
while at a cigar. This quiet man, who even 
when life was in danger seldom raised his 
voice, was not much to their fancy. Now old 
Sykes Huntington, when he was chief, used to 
bellow continually like a bull and gesticulate 
in a sort of delirium. He was much finer as 
a spectacle than this Shipley, who viewed a fire 
with the same steadiness that he viewed a raise 
in a large jack - pot. The greater number of 
the boys could never understand why the mem- 
bers of these companies persisted in re-elect- 
ing Shipley, although they often pretended to 
understand it, because " My father says" was 
a very formidable phrase in argument, and the 
fathers seemed almost unanimous in advocat- 
ing Shipley. 

At this time there was considerable discus- 
sion as to which company had gotten the first 
stream of water on the fire. Most of the boys 
claimed that Number Five owned that distinc- 
tion, but there was a determined minority who 
contended for Number One. Boys who were 

The Monster 

the blood adherents of other companies were 
obliged to choose between the two on this oc- 
casion, and the talk waxed warm. 

But a great rumor went among the crowds. 
It was told with hushed voices. Afterwards a 
reverent silence fell even upon the boys. Jim- 
mie Trescott and Henry Johnson had been 
burned to death, and Dr. Trescott himself had 
been most savagely hurt. The crowd did not 
even feel the police pushing at them. They 
raised their eyes, shining now with awe, tow- 
ards the high flames. 

The man who had information w^as at his 
best. In low tones he described the whole 
affair. " That was the kid's room in the cor- 
ner there. He had measles or somethin', and 
this coon Johnson was a-settin' up with 'im, 
and Johnson got sleepy or somethin' and upset 
the lamp, and the doctor he was down in his 
office, and he came running up, and they all 
got burned together till they dragged 'em out." 

Another man, always preserved for the de- 
liverance of the final judgment, was saying: 
"Oh, they'll die sure. Burned to flinders. No 
chance. Hull lot of 'em. Anybody can see." 
The crowd concentrated its gaze still more 
closely upon these flags of fire which waved 
joyfully against the black sky. The bells of 
the town were clashing unceasingly. 

The Monster 

A little procession moved across the lawn 
and towards the street. There were three cots, 
borne by twelve of the firemen. The police 
moved sternly, but it needed no effort of theirs 
to open a lane for this slow cortege. The men 
who bore the cots were well known to the 
crowd, but in this solemn parade during the 
ringing of the bells and the shouting, and with 
the red glare upon the sky, they seemed utter- 
ly foreign, and Whilomville paid them a deep 
respect. Each man in this stretcher party had 
gained a reflected majesty. They were foot- 
men to death, and the crowd made subtle 
obeisance to this august dignity derived from 
three prospective graves. One woman turned 
away with a shriek at sight of the covered 
body on the first stretcher, and people faced 
her suddenly in silent and mournful indig- 
nation. Otherwise there was barely a sound 
as these twelve important men with meas- 
ured tread carried their burdens through the 
throng. ( 

The little boys no longer discussed the mer- 
its of the different fire companies. For the 
greater part they had been routed. Only the 
more courageous viewed closely the three fig- 
ures veiled in yellow blankets. 


The Monster 



Old Judge Denning Hagenthorpe, who lived 
nearly opposite the Trescotts, had thrown his 
door wide open to receive the afflicted famil}^ 
When it was publicly learned that the doctor 
and his son and the negro were still alive, it 
required a specially detailed policeman to pre- 
vent people from scaling the front porch and 
interviewing these sorely wounded. One old 
lady appeared with a miraculous poultice, and 
she quoted most damning Scripture to the 
officer when he said that she could not pass 
him. Throughout the night some lads old 
enough to be given privileges or to compel 
them from their mothers remained vigilantly 
upon the kerb in anticipation of a death or 
some such event. The reporter of the Morn- 
ing Tribune rode thither on his bicycle every 
hour until three o'clock. 

Six of the ten doctors in Whilomville at- 
tended at Judge Hagenthorpe's house. 

Almost at once they were able to know that 
Trescott's burns were not vitally important. 
The child would possibly be scarred badly, but 
his life was undoubtedly safe. As for the ne- 
gro Henry Johnson, he could not live. His 
body was frightfully seared, but more than 

The Monster 

that, he now had no face. His face had sim- 
ply been burned away. 

Trescott was always asking news of the two 
other patients. In the morning he seemed 
fresh and strong, so they told him that John- 
son was doomed. They then saw him stir on 
the bed, and sprang quickly to see if the 
bandages needed readjusting. In the sudden 
glance he threw from one to another he im- 
pressed them as being both leonine and im- 

The morning paper announced the death of 
Henry Johnson. It contained a long interview 
with Edward J. Hannigan, in which the latter 
described in full the performance of Johnson 
at the fire. There was also an editorial built 
from all the best words in the vocabulary of 
the staff. The town halted in its accustomed 
road of thought, and turned a reverent atten- 
tion to the memory of this hostler. In the 
breasts of many people was the regret that 
they had not known enough to give him a 
hand and a lift when he was alive, and they 
judged themselves stupid and ungenerous for 
this failure. 

The name of Henry Johnson became sud- 
denly the title of a saint to the little boys. 
The one who thought of it first could, by quot- 
ing it in an argument, at once overthrow his 


The Monster 

antagonist, whether it applied to the subject 
or whether it did not. 

" Nigger, nigger, never die. 
Black face and shiny eye." 

Boys who had called this odious couplet in 
the rear of Johnson's march buried the fact at 
the bottom of their hearts. 

Later in the day Miss Bella Farragut,of No. 
7 Watermelon Alley, announced that she had 
been engaged to marry Mr. Henry Johnson. 


The old judge had a cane with an ivory 
head. He could never think at his best until he 
was leaning slightly on this stick and smooth- 
ing the white top with slow movements of his 
hands. It was also to him a kind of narcotic. 
If by any chance he mislaid it, he grew at once 
very irritable, and was likely to speak sharply 
to his sister, whose mental incapacity he had 
patiently endured for thirty years in the old 
mansion on Ontario Street. She was not at 
all aware of her brother's opinion of her en- 
dowments, and so it might be said that the 
judge had successfully dissembled for more 

The Monster 

than a quarter of a century, only risking the 
truth at the times when his cane was lost. 

On a particular day the judge sat in his arm- 
chair on the porch. The sunshine sprinkled 
through the lilac - bushes and poured great 
coins on the boards. The sparrows disputed 
in the trees that lined the pavements. The 
judge mused deeply, while his hands gently 
caressed the ivory head of his cane. 

Finally he arose and entered the house, his 
brow still furrowed in a thoughtful frown. His 
stick thumped solemnly in regular beats. On 
the second floor he entered a room where Dr. 
Trescott was working about the bedside of 
Henry Johnson. The bandages on the negro's 
head allowed only one thing to appear, an eye, 
which unwinkingly stared at the judge. The 
later spoke to Trescott on the condition of the 
patient. Afterward he evidently had some- 
thing further to say, but he seemed to be kept 
from it by the scrutiny of the unwinking eye, 
at which he furtively glanced from time to 

When Jimmie Trescott was sufficiently re- 
covered, his mother had taken him to pay a 
visit to his grandparents in Connecticut. The 
doctor had remained to take care of his pa- 
tients, but as a matter of truth he spent most 
of his time at Judge Hagenthorpe's house, where 

The Monster 

lay Henry Johnson. Here he slept and ate 
almost every meal in the long nights and days 
of his vigil. 

At dinner, and away from the magic of the 
unwinking eye, the judge said, suddenly, 
" Trescott, do you think it is " As Trescott 
paused expectantly, the judge fingered his 
knife. He said, thoughtfully, "No one wants 
to advance such ideas, but somehow I think 
that that poor fellow ought to die." 

There was in Trescott's face at once a look 
of recognition, as if in this tangent of the 
judge he saw an old problem. He merely 
sighed and answered, "Who knows?" The 
words were spoken in a deep tone that gave 
them an elusive kind of significance. 

The judge retreated to the cold manner of 
the bench. " Perhaps we may not talk with 
propriety of this kind of action, but I am in- 
duced to say that you are performing a ques- 
tionable charity in preserving this negro's life. 
As near as I can understand, he will hereafter 
be a monster, a perfect monster, and probably 
with an affected brain. No man can observe 
you as I have observed you and not know that 
it was a matter of conscience with you, but I 
am afraid, my friend, that it is one of the 
blunders of virtue." The judge had delivered 
his views with his habitual oratory. The last 

The Monster 

three words he spoke with a particular em- 
phasis, as if the phrase was his discovery. 

The doctor made a weary gesture. " He 
saved my boy's life." 

"Yes," said the judge, swiftly "yes, I 
know !" 

"And what am I to do?" said Trescott, his 
eyes suddenly lighting like an outburst from 
smouldering peat. "What am I to do ? He 
gave himself for for Jimmie. What am I to 
do for him?" 

The judge abased himself completely before 
these words. He lowered his eyes for a mo- 
ent. He picked at his cucumbers. 

Presently he braced himself straightly in his 
chair. " He will be your creation, you under- 
stand. He is purely your creation. Nature has U^^' 
very evidently given him up. He is dead. You 
are restoring him to life. You are making him, 
and he will be a monster, and with no mind," 

"He will be what you like, judge," cried 
Trescott, in sudden, polite fury. " He will be ^y 
anything, but, by God ! he saved my boy." 

The judge interrupted in a voice trembling 
with emotion : " Trescott ! Trescott ! Don't 
I know ?" 

Trescott had subsided to a sullen mood. 
" Yes, you know," he answered, acidly ; " but 
you don't know all about your own boy being 

The Monster 

saved from death." This was a perfectly child- 
ish allusion to the judge's bachelorhood. Tres- 
cott knew that the remark was infantile, but 
he seemed to take desperate delight in it. 

But it passed the judge completely. It was 
not his spot. 

'' I am puzzled," said he, in profound thought. 
" I don't know what to say." 

Trescott had become repentant. " Don't 
think I don't appreciate what you say, judge. 

" Of course !" responded the judge, quickly. 
" Of course." 

" It" began Trescott. 

" Of course," said the judge. 

In silence they resumed their dinner. 

"Well," said the judge, ultimately, "it is 
hard for a man to know what to do." 

" It is," said the doctor, fervidly. 

There was another silence. It was broken 
by the judge: 

" Look here, Trescott ; I don't want you to 

" No, certainly not," answered the doctor, 

" Well, I don't want you to think I would say 
anything to It was only that I thought that 
I might be able to suggest to you that per- 
haps the affair was a little dubious." 

The Monster 

With an appearance of suddenly disclosing 
his real mental perturbation, the doctor said : 
"Well, what would you do? Would you kill 
him?" he asked, abruptly and sternly. 

"Trescott, you fool," said the old man, 

" Oh, well, I know, judge, but then " He 
turned red, and spoke with new violence : 
" Say, he saved my boy do you see ? He saved 
my boy." 

" You bet he did," cried the judge, with enthu- 
siasm. " You bet he did." And they remained 
for a time gazing at each other, their faces illu- 
minated with memories of a certain deed. 

After another silence, the judge said, "It is 
hard for a man to know what to do," 


Late one evening Trescott, returning from a 
professional call, paused his buggy at the Ha- 
genthorpe gate. He tied the mare to the old 
tin-covered post, and entered the house. Ul- 
timately he appeared with a companion a 
man who walked slowly and carefully, as if he 
were learning. He was wrapped to the heels 
in an old-fashioned ulster. They entered the 
buggy and drove away. 

The Monster 

After a silence only broken by the swift and 
musical humming of the wheels on the smooth 
^pad, Trescott spoke. " Henry," he said, " I've 
got you a home here with old Alek Williams. 
You will have everything you want to eat and 
a good place to sleep, and I hope you will get 
along there all right. I will pay all your ex- 
penses, and come to see you as often as I can. 
If you don't get along, I want you to let me 
know as soon as possible, and then we will do 
what we can to make it better." 

The dark figure at the doctor's side answered 
with a cheerful laugh. *' These buggy wheels 
don' look like I washed 'em yesterday, docteh," 
he said. 

Trescott hesitated for a moment, and then 
went on insistently, " I am taking you to Alek 
Williams, Henry, and I " 

The figure chuckled again. "No, 'deed! No, 
seh ! Alek Williams don' know a boss ! 'Deed 
he don't. He don' know a boss from a pig." 
The laugh that followed was like the rattle of 

Trescott turned and looked sternly and coldly 
at the dim form in the gloom from the buggy- 
top. "Henry," he said, " I didn't say anything 
about horses. I was saying " 

"Hoss? Hoss?" said the quavering voice 
from these near shadows. "Hoss? 'Deed I 

The Monster 

don' know all erbout a hoss ! 'Deed I don't." 
There was a satirical chuckle. 

At the end of three miles the mare slackened 
and the doctor leaned forward, peering, while 
holding tight reins. The wheels of the buggy 
bumped often over out-cropping bowlders. A 
window shone forth, a simple square of topaz 
on a great black hill-side. Four dogs charged 
the buggy with ferocity, and when it did not 
promptly retreat, they circled courageously 
around the flanks, baying. A door opened 
near the window in the hill -side, and a 
man came and stood on a beach of yellow 

" Yah ! yah ! You Roveh ! You Susie ! Come 
yah ! Come yah this minit !" 

Trescott called across the dark sea of grass, 
" Hello, Alek !" 


"Come down here and show me where to 

The man plunged from the beach into the 
surf, and Trescott could then only trace his 
course by the fervid and polite ejaculations of 
a host who was somewhere approaching. Pres- 
ently Williams took the mare by the head, and 
uttering cries of welcome and scolding the 
swarming dogs, led the equipage towards the 
lights. When they halted at the door and Tres- 
D 49 

The Monster 

cott was climbing out, Williams cried, " Will 
she stand, docteh ?" 

" She'll stand all right, but you better hold 
her for a minute. Now, Henry." The doctor 
turned and held both arms to the dark figure. 
It crawled to him painfully like a man going 
down a ladder. Williams took the mare away 
to be tied to a little tree, and when he returned 
he found them awaiting him in the gloom be- 
yond the rays from the door. 

He burst out then like a siphon pressed 
by a nervous thumb. " Hennery ! Hennery, 
ma ol' frien'. Well, if I ain' glade. If I ain' 
glade !" 

Trescott had taken the silent shape by the 
arm and led it forward into the full revelation 
of the light. " Well, now, Alek, you can take 
Henry and put him to bed, and in the morning 
I will" 

Near the end of this sentence old Williams 
had come front to front with Johnson. He 
gasped for a second, and then yelled the yell of 
a man stabbed in the heart. 

For a fraction of a moment Trescott seemed 
to be looking for epithets. Then he roared : 
" You old black chump! You old black Shut 
up! Shut up! Do you hear?" 

Williams obeyed instantly in the matter of 
his screams, but he continued in a lowered 

The Monster 

voice : " Ma Lode amassy! Who'd ever think ? 
Ma Lode amassy !" 

Trescott spoke again in the manner of a com- 
mander of a battalion. "Alek!" 

The old negro again surrendered, but to him- 
self he repeated in a whisper, " Ma Lode !" He 
was aghast and trembling. 

As these three points of widening shadows 
approached the golden doorway a hale old ne- 
gress appeared there, bowing. " Good-evenin', 
docteh! Good-evenin'! Come in! come in!" 
She had evidently just retired from a tempest- 
uous struggle to place the room in order, but 
she was now bowing rapidly. She made the 
effort of a person swimming. 

" Don't trouble yourself, Mary," said Tres- 
cott, entering. " I've brought Henry for you 
to take care of, and all you've got to do is to 
carry out what I tell you." Learning that he 
was not followed, he faced the door, and said, 
"Come in, Henry." 

Johnson entered. " Whee !" shrieked Mrs. 
Williams. She almost achieved a back somer- 
sault. Six young members of the tribe of 
Williams made a simultaneous plunge for a 
position behind the stove, and formed a wailing 

The Monster 


" You know very well that you and your fam- 
ily lived usually on less than three dollars a 
week, and now that Dr. Trescott pays you five 
dollars a week for Johnson's board, you live like 
millionaires. You haven't done a stroke of 
work since Johnson began to board with you 
everybody knows that and so what are you 
kicking about ?" 

The judge sat in his chair on the porch, fond- 
ling his cane, and gazing down at old Williams, 
who stood under the lilac-bushes, "Yes, I 
know, jedge," said the negro, wagging his head 
in a puzzled manner. " 'Tain't like as if I didn't 
'preciate what the docteh done, but but well, 
yeh see, jedge," he added, gaining a new im- 
petus, " it's it's hard wuk. This ol' man nev' 
did wuk so hard. Lode, no." 

" Don't talk such nonsense, Alek," spoke the 
judge, sharply. '* You have never really worked 
in your life anyhow, enough to support a fam- 
ily of sparrows, and now when you are in a 
more prosperous condition than ever before, 
you come around talking like an old fool." 

The negro began to scratch his head. " Yeh 
see, jedge," he said at last, " my ol' 'ooman she 
cain't 'ceive no lady callahs, nohow." 

The Monster 

*' Hang lady callers'" said the judge, irasci- 
bly. " If you have flour in the barrel and meat 
in the pot, your wife can get along without re- 
ceiving lady callers, can't she ?" 

" But they won't come ainyhow, jedge," re- 
plied Williams, with an air of still deeper stupe- 
faction. " Noner ma wife's frien's ner noner 
ma frien's '11 come near ma res'dence." 

"Well, let them stay home if they are such 
silly people." 

The old negro seemed to be seeking a way to 
elude this argument, but evidently finding 
none, he was about to shuffle meekly off. He 
halted, however. " Jedge," said he, " ma ol' 
'ooman's near driv' abstracted." 

"Your old woman is an idiot," responded the 

Williams came very close and peered solemn- 
ly through a branch of lilac. "Jedge," he 
whispered, " the chillens." 

" What about them ?" 

Dropping his voice to funereal depths, Will- 
iams said, " They they cain't eat." 

"Can't eat!" scoft'ed the judge, loudly. 
" Can't eat! You must think I am as big an old 
fool as you are. Can't eat the little rascals ! 
What's to prevent them from eating?" 

In answer, Williams said, with mournful em- 
phasis, " Hennery." Moved with a kind of 

The Monster 

satisfaction at his tragic use of the name, he 
remained staring at the judge for a sign of its 

The judge made a gesture of irritation. 
" Come, now, you old scoundrel, don't beat 
around the bush any more. What are you up 
to ? What do you want ? Speak out like a 
man, and don't give me any more of this tire- 
some rigamarole." 

" I ain't er-beatin' round 'bout nuffin, jedge," 
replied Williams, indignantly. " No, seh ; I say 
whatter got to say right out. 'Deed I do." 

"Well, say it, then." 

" Jedge," began the negro, taking off his hat 
and switching his knee with it, " Lode knows 
I'd do jes 'bout as much fer five dollehs er week 
as ainy cul'd man, but but this yere business 
is awful, jedge. I raikon 'ain't been no sleep 
in in my house sence docteh done fetch 'im." 

" Well, what do you propose to do about it?" 

Williams lifted his eyes from the ground and 
gazed off through the trees. " Raikon I got 
good appetite, an' sleep jes like er dog, but 
he he's done broke me all up. 'Tain't no good, 
nohow. I wake up in the night ; I hear 'im, 
mebbe, er-whimperin' an' er-whimperin', an' I 
sneak an' I sneak until I try th' do' to see if he 
locked in. An' he keep me er-puzzlin' an' er- 
quakin' all night long. Don't know how '11 do 

The Monster 

in th'. winter. Can't let 'im out where th' 
chillen is. He'll done freeze where he is now." 
Williams spoke these sentences as if he were 
talking to himself. After a silence of deep re- 
flection he continued : " Folks go round sayin' 
he ain't Hennery Johnson at all. They say 
he's er devil!" 

" What ?" cried the judge. 

"Yesseh," repeated Williams, in tones of in- 
jury, as if his veracity had been challenged. 
" Yesseh. I'm er-tellin' it to yeh straight, 
jedge. Plenty cul'd people folks up my way 
say it is a devil." 

"Well, you don't think so yourself, do you?" 

" No. 'Tain't no devil. It's Hennery John- 

"Well, then, what is the matter with you? 
You don't care what a lot of foolish people say. 
Go on 'tending to your business, and pay no 
attention to such idle nonsense." 

" 'Tis nonsense, jedge ; but he looks like er 

" What do you care what he looks like ?" de- 
manded the judge. 

" Ma rent is two dollehs and er half er 
month," said Williams, slowly. 

" It might just as well be ten thousand dol- 
lars a month," responded the judge. " You 
never pay it, anyhow." * 


The Monster 

" Then, anoth' thing," continued Williams, in 
his reflective tone. *' If he was all right in his 
haid I could stan' it ; but, jedge, he's crazier 
'n er loon. Then when he looks like er devil, 
an' done skears all ma frien's away, an' ma 
chillens cain't eat, an' ma ole 'ooman jes 
raisin' Cain all the time, an' ma rent two 
dollehs an' er half er month, an' him not right 
in his haid, it seems like five dollehs er week " 

The judge's stick came down sharply and 
suddenly upon the floor of the porch. " There," 
he said, " I thought that was what you were 
driving at." 

Williams began swinging his head from side 
to side in the strange racial mannerism. "Now 
hoi' on a minnet, jedge," he said, defensively. 
" 'Tain't like as if I didn't 'preciate what the 
docteh done. 'Tain't that. Docteh Trescott 
is er kind man, an' 'tain't like as if I didn't 
'preciate what he done ; but but " 

"But what ? You are getting painful, Alek. 
Now tell me this : did you ever have five dol- 
lars a week regularly before in your life ?" 

Williams at once drew himself up with great 
dignity, but in the pause after that question he 
drooped gradually to another attitude. In the 
end he answered, heroically : " No, jedge, I 
'ain't. An' 'tain't like as if I was er-sayin' five 
dollehs wasn't er lot er money for a man like 

The Monster 

me. But, jedge, what er man oughter git fer 
this kinder wuk is er salary. Yesseh, jedge," 
he repeated, with a great impressive gesture ; 
" fer this kinder wuk er man oughter git er 
Salary." He laid a terrible emphasis upon the 
final word. 

The judge laughed. " I know Dr. Trescott's 
mind concerning this affair, Alek; and if you 
are dissatisfied with your boarder, he is quite 
ready to move him to some other place; so, if 
you care to leave word with me that you are 
tired of the arrangement and wish it changed, 
he will come and take Johnson away." 

Williams scratched his head again in deep 
perplexity. " Five dollehs is er big price fer 
bo'd, but 'tain't no big price fer the bo'd of er 
crazy man," he said, finally. 

" What do you think you ought to get ?" 
asked the judge. 

"Well," answered Alek, in the manner of one 
deep in a balancing of the scales, "he looks like 
er devil, an* done skears e'rybody, an' ma chil- 
lens cain't eat, an' I cain't sleep, an' he ain't 
right in his haid, an' " 

" You told me all those things." 

After scratching his wool, and beating his 

knee with his hat, and gazing off through 

the trees and down at the ground, Williams 

said, as he kicked nervously at the gravel, 


The Monster 

" Well, jedge, I think it is wuth " He stut- 

"Worth what?" 

" Six dollehs," answered Williams, in a des- 
perate outburst. 

The judge lay back in his great arm-chair 
and went through all the motions of a man 
laughing heartily, but he made no sound save 
a slight cough. Williams had been watching 
him with apprehension. 

" Well," said the judge, " do you call six dol- 
lars a salary ?" 

" No, seh," promptly responded Williams. 
"'Tain't a salary. No, 'deed! 'Tain't a salary." 
He looked with some anger upon the man who 
questioned his intelligence in this way. 

"Well, supposing your children can't eat?" 

"And supposing he looks like a devil? And 
supposing all those things continue? Would 
you be satisfied with six dollars a week?" 

Recollections seemed to throng in Williams's 
mind at these interrogations, and he answered 
dubiously. " Of co'se a man who ain't right in 
his haid, an' looks like er devil But six dol- 
lehs " After these two attempts at a sen- 
tence Williams suddenly appeared as an orator, 
with a great shiny palm waving in the air. "I 
tell yeh, jedge, six dollehs is six dollehs, but if 

The Monster 

I git six dollehs for bo'ding Hennery Johnson, 
I uhns it ! I uhns it !" 

" I don't doubt that you earn six dollars for 
every week's work you do," said the judge. 

" Well, if I bo'd Hennery Johnson fer six dol- 
lehs er week, I uhns it ! I uhns it !" cried 
Williams, wildly. 


Reifsnyder's assistant had gone to his sup- 
per, and the owner of the shop was trying to 
placate four men who wished to be shaved at 
once. Reifsnyder was very garrulous a fact 
which made him rather remarkable among bar- 
bers, who, as a class, are austerely speechless, 
having been taught silence by the hammering 
reiteration of a tradition. It is the customers 
who talk in the ordinary event. 
' As Reifsnyder waved his razor down the 
cheek of a man in the chair, he turned often to 
cool the impatience of the others with pleasant 
talk, which they did not particularly heed. 

" Oh, he should have let him die," said Bain- 
bridge, a railway engineer, finally replying to 
one of the barber's orations. " Shut up, Reif, 
and go on with your business !" 

Instead, Reifsnyder paused shaving entirely, 

The Monster 

and turned to front the speaker. " Let him 
die?" he demanded. " How vas that ? How can 
you let a man die?" 

" By letting him die, you chump," said the 
engineer. The others laughed a little, and 
Reifsnyder turned at once to his work, sullen- 
ly, as a man overwhelmed by the derision of 

" How vas that?" he grumbled later. " How 
can you let a man die when he vas done so 
much for you?" 

" ' When he vas done so much for you?' " re- 
peated Bainbridge. "You better shave some 
people. How vas that? Maybe this ain't a 
barber shop?" 

A man hitherto silent now said, " If I had 
been the doctor, I would have done the same 

"Of course," said Reifsnyder. "Any man 
vould do it. Any man that vas not like you, 
you old flint-hearted fish." He had sought 
the final words with painful care, and he de- 
livered the collection triumphantly at Bain- 
bridge. The engineer laughed. 

The man in the chair now lifted himself 
higher, while Reifsnyder began an elaborate 
ceremony of anointing and combing his hair. 
Now free to join comfortably in the talk, the 
man said : " They say he is the most terrible 

The Monster 

thing in the world. Young Johnnie Bernard 
that drives the grocery wagon saw him up at 
Alek Williams's shanty, and he says he couldn't 
eat anything for two days." 

"Chee!" said Reifsnyder. 

"Well, what makes hirri so terrible?" asked 

" Because he hasn't got any face," replied the 
barber and the engineer in duet. 

" Hasn't got any face !" repeated the man. 
" Howican he do without any face?" 

" He has no face in the front of his head, 
In the place where his face ought to grow." 

Bainbridge sang these lines pathetically as 
he arose and hung his hat on a hook. The 
man in the chair was about to abdicate in his 
favor. "Get a gait on you now," he said to 
Reifsnyder. " I go out at 7.31." 

As the barber foamed the lather on the 
cheeks of the engineer he seemed to be think- 
ing heavily. Then suddenly he burst out. 
" How would you like to be with no face ?" he 
cried to the assemblage. 

"Oh, if I had to have a face like yours " 
answered one customer. 

Bainbridge's voice came from a sea of lather. 
" You're kicking because if losing faces became 
popular, you'd have to go out of business." 

The Monster 

" I don't think it will become so much popu- 
lar," said Reifsnyder. 

"Not if it's got to be taken off in the way 
his was taken off," said another man. " I'd 
rather keep mine, if you don't mind." 

"I guess so!" cried the barber. *'Just 

The shaving of Bainbridge had arrived at a 
time of comparative liberty for him. "I won- 
der what the doctor says to himself?" he ob- 
served. " He may be sorry he made him 

"It was the only thing he could do," replied 
a man. The others seemed to agree with 

"Supposing you were in his place," said one, 
"and Johnson had saved your kid. What 
would you do?" 


"Of course! You would do anything on 
earth for him. You'd take all the trouble in 
the world for him. And spend your last dollar 
on him. Well, then?" 

"I wonder how it feels to be without any 
face?" said Reifsnyder, musingly. 

The man who had previously spoken, feeling 

that he had expressed himself well, repeated 

the whole thing. " You would do anything on 

earth for him. You'd take all the trouble in 


The Monster 

the world for him. And spend your last dol- 
lar on him. Well, then ?" 

" No, but look," said Reifsnyder ; "supposing 
you don't got a face !" 


As soon as Williams was hidden from the 
view of the old judge he began to gesture and 
talk to himself. An elation had evidently pen- 
etrated to his vitals, and caused him to dilate 
as if he had been filled with gas. He snapped 
his fingers in the air, and whistled fragments 
of triumphal music. At times, in his progress 
towards his shanty, he indulged in a shuffling 
movement that was really a dance. It was to 
be learned from the intermediate monologue 
that he had emerged from his trials laurelled 
and proud. He was the unconquerable Alex- 
ander Williams. Nothing could exceed the 
bold self-reliance of his manner. His kingly 
stride, his heroic song, the derisive flourish of 
his hands all betokened a man who had suc- 
cessfully defied the world. 

On his way he saw Zeke Paterson coming to 
town. They hailed each other at a distance of 
fifty yards. 

" How do, Broth* Paterson ?" 

The Monster 

"How do, Broth' Williams?" 

They were both deacons. 

" Is you' folks well, Broth' Paterson ?" 

" Middlin', middlin'. How's you' folks. Broth' 

Neither of them had slowed his pace in the 
smallest degree. They had simply begun this 
talk when a considerable space separated them, 
continued it as they passed, and added polite 
questions as they drifted steadily apart. Will- 
iams's mind seemed to be a balloon. He had 
been so inflated that he had not noticed that 
Paterson had definitely shied into the dry 
ditch as they came to the point of ordinary 

Afterwards, as he went a lonely way, he burst 
out again in song and pantomimic celebration 
of his estate. His feet moved in prancing 

When he came in sight of his cabin, the fields 
were bathed in a blue dusk, and the light in the 
window was pale. Cavorting and gesticulat- 
ing, he gazed joyfully for some moments upon 
this light. Then suddenly another idea seemed 
to attack his mind, and he stopped, with an 
air of being suddenly dampened. In the end 
he approached his home as if it were the fort- 
ress of an enemy. 

Some dogs disputed his advance for a loud 

The Monster 

moment, and then discovering their lord, slunk 
away embarrassed. His reproaches were ad- 
dressed to them in muffled tones. 

Arriving at the door, he pushed it open with 
the timidity of a new thief. He thrust his head 
cautiously sideways, and his eyes met the eyes 
of his wife, who sat by the table, the lamp-light 
defining a half of her face. "'Sh!" he said, 
uselessly. His glance travelled swiftly to the 
inner door which shielded the one bed-cham- 
ber. The pickaninnies, strewn upon the floor 
of the living-room, were softly snoring. After 
a hearty meal they had promptly dispersed 
themselves about the place and gone to sleep. 
" 'Shi" said Williams again to his motionless 
and silent wife. He had allowed only his head 
to appear. His wife, with one hand upon the 
edge of the table and the other at her knee, 
was regarding him with wide eyes and parted 
lips as if he were a spectre. She looked to be 
one who was living in terror, and even the 
familiar face at the door had thrilled her be- 
cause it had come suddenly. 

Williams broke the tense silence. " Is he all 
right ?" he whispered, waving his eyes towards 
the inner door. Following his glance timor- 
ously, his wife nodded, and in a low tone an- 
swered : 

" I raikon he's done gone t' sleep." 
E 6^ 

The Monster 

Williams then slunk noiselessly across his 

He lifted a chair, and with infinite care placed 
it so that it faced the dreaded inner door. His 
wife moved slightly, so as to also squarely face 
it. A silence came upon them in which they 
seemed to be waiting for a calamity, pealing 
and deadly. 

Williams finally coughed behind his hand. 
His wife started, and looked upon him in alarm. 
*"Pears like he done gwine keep quiet ter- 
night," he breathed. They continually pointed 
their speech and their looks at the inner door, 
paying it the homage due to a corpse or a 
phantom. Another long stillness followed this 
sentence. Their eyes shone white and wide. 
A wagon rattled down the distant road. From 
their chairs they looked at the window, and 
the effect of the light in the cabin was a pres- 
entation of an intensely black and solemn 
night. The old woman adopted the attitude 
used always in church at funerals. At times 
she seemed to be upon the point of breaking 
out in prayer. 

" He mighty quiet ter-night," whispered Will- 
iams. "Was he good ter-day?" For answer 
his wife raised her eyes to the ceiling in the 
supplication of Job. Williams moved restless- 
ly. Finally he tiptoed to the door. He knelt 

The Monster 

slowly and without a sound, and placed his ear 
near the key-hole. Hearing a noise behind him, 
he turned quickly. His wife was staring at 
him aghast. She stood in front of the stove, 
and her arms Avere spread out in the natural 
movement to protect all her sleeping duck- 

But Williams arose without having touched 
the door. " I raikon he er-sleep," he said, fin- 
gering his wool. He debated with himself for 
some time. During this interval his wife re- 
mained, a great fat statue of a mother shielding 
her children. 

It was plain that his mind was swept sudden- 
ly by a wave of temerity. With a sounding 
step he moved towards the door. His fingers 
were almost upon the knob when he swiftly 
ducked and dodged away, clapping his hands to 
the back of his head. It was as if the portal 
had threatened him. There was a little tumult 
near the stove, where Mrs. Williams's desper- 
ate retreat had involved her feet with the pros- 
trate children. 

After the panic Williams bore traces of a 
feeling of shame.' He returned to the charge. 
He firmly grasped the knob with his left hand, 
and with his other hand turned the key in the 
lock. He pushed the door, and as it swung 
portentously open he sprang nimbly to one side 

The Monster 

like the fearful slave liberating the lion. Near 
the stove a group had formed, the terror- 
stricken mother, with her arms stretched, and 
the aroused children clinging frenziedly to her 

The light streamed after the swinging door, 
and disclosed a room six feet one way and six 
feet the other way. It was small enough to 
enable the radiance to lay it plain. Williams 
peered warily around the corner made by the 

Suddenly he advanced, retired, and advanced 
again with a howl. His palsied family had ex- 
pected him to spring backward, and at his 
howl they heaped themselves wondrously. But 
Williams simply stood in the little room emit- 
ting his howls before an open window. " He's 
gone ! He's gone ! He's gone !" His eye and 
his hand had speedily proved the fact. He had 
even thrown open a little cupboard. 

Presently he came flying out. He grabbed 
his hat, and hurled the outer door back upon 
its hinges. Then he tumbled headlong into the 
night. He was yelling: " Docteh Trescott! 
Docteh Trescott!" He ran wildly through the 
fields, and galloped in the direction of town. 
He continued to call to Trescott, as if the lat- 
ter was within easy hearing. It was as if Tres- 
cott was poised in the contemplative sky ovei: 

The Monster 

the running negro, and could heed this reach- 
ing voice " Docteh Trescott !" 

In the cabin, Mrs. Williams, supported by re- 
lays from the battalion of children, stood quak- 
ing watch until the truth of daylight came as a 
reinforcement and made the marrogant, strut- 
ting, swashbuckler children, and a mother who 
proclaimed her illimitable courage. 


Theresa Page was giving a party. It was 
the outcome of a long series of arguments ad- 
dressed to her mother, which had been over- 
heard in part by her father. He had at last 
said five words, " Oh, let her have it." The 
mother had then gladly capitulated. 

Theresa had written nineteen invitations, 
and distributed them at recess to her school- 
mates. Later her mother had composed five 
large cakes, and still later a vast amount of 

So the nine little girls and the ten little boys 
sat quite primly in the dining - room, while 
Theresa and her mother plied them with cake 
and lemonade, and also with ice-cream. This 
primness sat now quite strangely upon them. 
It was owing to the presence of Mrs. Page. 

The Monster 

Previously in the parlor alone with their games 
they had overturned a chair; the boys had let 
more or less of their hoodlum spirit shine forth. 
But when circumstances could be possibly 
magnified to warrant it, the girls made the 
boys victims of an insufferable pride, snubbing 
them mercilessly. So in the dining-room they 
resembled a class at Sunday-school, if it were 
not for the subterranean smiles, gestures, re- 
buffs, and poutings which stamped the affair 
as a children's party. 

Two little girls of this subdued gathering 
were planted in a settle with their backs to the 
broad window. They were beaming lovingly 
upon each other with an effect of scorning the 

Hearing a noise behind her at the window, 
one little girl turned to face it. Instantly she 
screamed and sprang away, covering her face 
with her hands. '' What was it ? What was 
it ?" cried every one in a roar. Some slight 
movement of the eyes of the weeping and 
shuddering child informed the company that 
she had been frightened by an appearance at 
the window. At once they all faced the imper- 
turbable window, and for a moment there was a 
silence. An astute lad made an immediate 
census of the other lads. The prank of slip- 
ping out and looming spectrally at a window 

The Monster 

was too venerable. But the little boys were all 
present and astonished. 

As they recovered their minds they uttered 
warlike cries, and through a side door sallied 
rapidly out against the terror. They vied with 
each other in daring. 

None wished particularly to encounter a 
dragon in the darkness of the garden, but there 
could be no faltering when the fair ones in the 
dining-room were present. Calling to each oth- 
er in stern voices, they went dragooning over 
the lawn, attacking the shadows with ferocity, 
but still with the caution of reasonable beings. 
They found, however, nothing new to the peace 
of the night. Of course there was a lad who 
told a great lie. He described a grim figure, 
bending low and slinking off along the fence. 
He gave a number of details, rendering his lie 
more splendid by a repetition of certain forms 
which he recalled from romances. For in- 
stance, he insisted that he had heard the creat- 
ure emit a hollow laugh. 

Inside the house the little girl who had raised 
the alarm was still shuddering and weeping. 
With the utmost difficulty was she brought to 
a state approximating calmness by Mrs. Page. 
Then she wanted to go home at once. 

Page entered the house at this time. He had 
exiled himself until he concluded that this chil- 

The Monster 

dren's party was finished and gone. He was 
obliged to escort the little girl home because 
she screamed again when they opened the door 
and she saw the night. 

She was not coherent even to her mother. 
Was it a man ? She didn't know. It was sim- 
ply a thing, a dreadful thing. 


In Watermelon Alley the Farraguts were 
spending their evening as usual on the little 
rickety porch. Sometimes they howled gossip 
to other people on other rickety porches. The 
thin wail of a baby arose from a near house. A 
man had a terrific altercation with his wife, to 
which the alley paid no attention at all. 

There appeared suddenly before the Farra- 
guts a monster making a low and sweeping 
bow. There was an instant's pause, and then 
occurred something that resembled the effect 
of an upheaval of the earth's surface. The old 
woman hurled herself backward with a dread- 
ful cry. Young Sim had been perched grace- 
fully on a railing. At sight of the monster he 
simply fell over it to the ground. He made no 
sound, his eyes stuck out, his nerveless hands 
tried to grapple the rail to prevent a tumble, 

The Monster 

and then he vanished. Bella, blubbering, and 
with her hair suddenly and mysteriously dis- 
hevelled, was crawling on her hands and knees 
fearsomely up the steps. 

Standing before this wreck of a family gath- 
ering, the monster continued to bow. It even 
raised a deprecatory claw. " Don' make no 
botheration 'bout me, Miss Fa'gut," it said, po- 
litely. " No, 'deed. I jes drap in ter ax if yer 
well this evenin', Miss Fa'gut. Don' make no 
botheration. No, 'deed. I gwine ax you to go 
to er daince with me. Miss Fa'gut. I ax you if 
I can have the magnifercent gratitude of you' 
company on that 'casion. Miss Fa'gut." 

The girl cast a miserable glance behind her. 
She was still crawling away. On the ground 
beside the porch young Sim raised a strange 
bleat, which expressed both his fright and his 
lack of wind. Presently the monster, with a 
fashionable amble, ascended the steps after the 

She grovelled in a corner of the room as the 
creature took a chair. It seated itself very ele- 
gantly on the edge. It held an old cap in both 
hands. " Don' make no botheration, Miss Fa'- 
gut. Don' make no botherations. No, 'deed. 
I jes drap in ter ax you if you won' do me the 
proud of acceptin' ma humble invitation to er 
daince, Miss Fa'gut." 


The Monster 

She shielded her eyes with her arms and tried 
to crawl past it, but the genial monster blocked 
the way. " I jes drap in ter ax you 'bout er 
daince, Miss Fa'gut. I ax you if I kin have the 
magnifercent gratitude of you' company on 
that 'casion, Miss Fa'gut." 

In a last outbreak of despair, the girl, shud- 
dering and 'wailing, threw herself face down- 
ward on the floor, while the monster sat on the 
edge of the chair gabbling courteous invita- 
tions, and holding the old hat daintily to his 

At the back of the house, Mrs. Farragut, who 
was of enormous weight, and who for eight 
years had done little more than sit in an arm- 
chair and describe her various ailments, had 
with speed and agility scaled a high board fence. 


The black mass in the middle of Trescott's 
property was hardly allowed to cool before the 
builders were at work on another house. It 
had sprung upward at a fabulous rate. It was 
like a magical composition born of the ashes. 
The doctor's office was the first part to be com- 
pleted, and he had already moved in his new 
books and instruments and medicines. 



The Monster 

Trescott sat before his desk when the chief 
of police arrived. " Well, we found him," said 
the latter, 

" Did you?" cried the doctor. "Where?" 

" Shambling around the streets at daylight 
this morning. I'll be blamed if I can figure on 
where he passed the night." 

"Where is he now?" 

"Oh, we jugged him. I didn't know what 
else to do with him. That's what I want you 
to tell me. Of course we can't keep him. No 
charge could be made^ you know." 

" I'll come down and get him." 

The official grinned retrospectively. " Must 
say he had a fine career while he was out. 
First thing he did was to break up a children's 
party at Page's. Then he went to Watermelon 
Alley. Whoo ! He stampeded the whole out- 
fit. Men, women, and children running pell- 
mell, and yelling. They say one old woman 
broke her leg, or something, shinning over a 
fence. Then he went right out on the main 
street, and an Irish girl threw a fit, and there 
was a sort of a riot. He began to run, and a 
big crowd chased him, firing rocks. But he 
gave them the slip somehow, down there by 
the foundry and in the railroad yard. We 
looked for him all night, but couldn't find 


The Monster 

"Was he hurt any? Did anybody hit him 
with a stone?" 

"Guess there isn't much of him to hurt any 
more, is there? Guess he's been hurt up to the 
limit. No. They never touched him. Of course 
nobody really wanted to hit him, but you know 
how a crowd gets. It's like it's like " 

"Yes, I know." 

For a moment the chief of the police looked 
reflectively at the floor. Then he spoke hes- 
itatingly. " You know Jake Winter's little girl 
was the one that he scared at the party. She 
is pretty sick, they say." 

" Is she? Why, they didn't call me. I always 
attend the Winter family." 

" No ? Didn't they ? " asked the chief, slowly. 
"Well you know Winter is well. Winter 
has gone clean crazy over this business. He 
wanted he wanted to have you arrested." 

"Have me arrested? The idiot! What in 
the name of wonder could he have me arrested 

" Of course. He is a fool. I told him to keep 
his trap shut. But then you know how he'll 
go all over town yapping about the thing. I 
thought I'd better tip you." 

" Oh, he is of no consequence ; but then, of 
course, I'm obliged to you, Sam." 

" That's all right. Well, you'll be down to- 

The Monster 

night and take him out, eh? You'll get a good 
welcome from the jailer. He don't like his job 
for a cent. He says you can have your man 
whenever you want him. He's got no use for 

" But what is this business of Winter's about 
having me arrested ?" 

"Oh, it's a lot of chin about your having no 
right to allow this this this man to be at 
large. But I told him to tend to his own busi- 
ness. Only I thought I'd better let you know. 
And I might as well say right now, doctor, that 
there is a good deal of talk about this thing. 
If I were you, I'd come to the jail pretty late 
at night, because there is likely to be a crowd 
around the door, and I'd bring a er mask, or 
some kind of a veil, anyhow." 


Martha Goodwin was single, and well along 
into the thin years. She lived with her mar- 
ried sister in Whilomville. She performed 
nearly all the house - work in exchange for 
the privilege of existence. Every one tacitly 
recognized her labor as a form of penance for 
the early end of her betrothed, who had died of 
small-pox, which he had not caught from her. 


The Monster 

But despite the strenuous and unceasing 
workaday of her life, she was a woman of great 
mind. She had adamantine opinions upon the 
situation in Armenia, the condition of women 
in China, the flirtation between Mrs. Minster 
of Niagara Avenue and young Griscom, the 
conflict in the Bible class of the Baptist Sun- 
day-school, the duty of the United States tow- 
ards the Cuban insurgents, and many other 
colossal matters. Her fullest experience of 
violence was gained on an occasion when she 
had seen a hound clubbed, but in the plan 
which she had made for the reform of the 
world she advocated drastic measures. For 
instance, she contended that all the Turks 
should be pushed into the sea and drowned, 
and that Mrs. Minster and young Griscom 
should be hanged side by side on twin gallows. 
In fact, this woman of peace, who had seen only 
peace, argued constantly for a creed of illimita- 
ble ferocity. She was invulnerable on these 
questions, because eventually she overrode all 
opponents with a sniff. This sniff was an ac- 
tive force. It was to her antagonists like a 
bang over the head, and none was known to 
recover from this expression of exalted con- 
tempt. It left them windless and conquered. 
They never again came forward as candidates 
for suppression. And Martha walked her 

The Monster 

kitchen with a stern brow, an invincible being 
like Napoleon. 

Nevertheless her acquaintances, from the 
pain of their defeats, had been long in secret 
revolt. It was in no wise a conspiracy, be- 
cause they did not care to state their open re- 
bellion, but nevertheless it was understood that 
any woman who could not coincide with one 
of Martha's contentions was entitled to the sup- 
port of others in the small circle. It amounted 
to an arrangement by which all were required 
to disbelieve any theory for which Martha 
fought. This, however, did not prevent them 
from speaking of her mind with profound re- 

Two people bore the brunt of her ability. 
Her sister Kate was visibly afraid of her, while 
Carrie Dungen sailed across from her kitchen 
to sit respectfully at Martha's feet and learn 
the business of the w^orld. To be sure, after- 
wards, under another sun, she always laughed 
at Martha and pretended to deride her ideas, 
but in the presence of the sovereign she always 
remained silent or admiring. Kate, the sister, 
was of no consequence at all. Her principal 
delusion was that she did all the work in the 
up-stairs rooms of the house, while Martha did 
it dow^n-stairs. The truth was seen only by the 
husband, who treated Martha with a kindness 

The Monster 

that was half banter, half deference. Martha 
herself had no suspicion that she was the only 
pillar of the domestic edifice. The situation 
was without definitions. Martha made defini- 
tions, but she devoted them entirely to the 
Armenians and Griscom and the Chinese and 
other subjects. Her dreams, which in early 
days had been of love of meadows and the 
shade of trees, of the face of a man, were now 
involved otherwise, and they were companioned 
in the kitchen curiously, Cuba, the hot-water 
kettle, Armenia, the washing of the dishes, and 
the whole thing being jumbled. In regard to 
social misdemeanors, she who was simply the 
mausoleum of a dead passion was probably the 
most savage critic in town. This unknown 
woman, hidden in a kitchen as in a well, was 
sure to have a considerable effect of the one 
kind or the other in the life of the town. 
Every time it moved a yard, she had person- 
ally contributed an inch. She could hammer 
so stoutly upon the door of a proposition that 
it would break from its hinges and fall upon 
her, but at any rate it moved. She was an en- 
gine, and the fact that she did not know that 
she was an engine contributed largely to the 
effect. One reason that she was formidable 
was that she did not even imagine that she 
was formidable. She remained a weak, inno- 

The Monster 

cent, and pig-headed creature, who alone would 
defy the universe if she thought the universe 
merited this proceeding. 

One day Carrie Dungen came across from her 
kitchen with speed. She had a great deal of 
grist. " Oh," she cried, " Henry Johnson got 
away from where they was keeping him, and 
came to town last night, and scared everybody 
almost to death." 

Martha was shining a dish -pan, polishing 
madly. No reasonable person could see cause 
for this operation, because the pan already 
glistened like silver. "Well!" she ejaculated. 
She imparted to the word a deep meaning. 
" This, my prophecy, has come to pass." It 
was a habit. 

The overplus of information was choking Car- 
rie. Before she could go on she was obliged 
to struggle for a moment. "And, oh, little 
Sadie Winter is awful sick, and they say Jake 
Winter was around this morning trying to 
get Doctor Trescott arrested. And poor old 
Mrs. Farragut sprained her ankle in trying to 
climb a fence. And there's a crowd around the 
jail all the time. They put Henry in jail be- 
cause they didn't know what else to do with 
him, I guess. They say he is perfectly ter- 

Martha finally released the dish-pan and con- 

The Monster 

fronted the headlong speaker. "Well!" she 
said again, poising a great brown rag. Kate 
had heard the excited new-comer, and drifted 
down from the novel in her room. She was a 
shivery little woman. Her shoulder-blades 
seemed to be two panes of ice, for she was con- 
stantly shrugging and shrugging. " Serves 
him right if he was to lose all his patients," 
she said suddenly, in blood-thirsty tones. She 
snipped her words out as if her lips were scis- 

"Well, he's likely to," shouted Carrie Dun- 
gen. " Don't a lot of people say that they 
won't have him any more ? If you're sick and 
nervous. Doctor Trescott would scare the life 
out of you, wouldn't he? He would me. I'd 
keep thinking." 

Martha, stalking to and fro, sometimes sur- 
veyed the two other women with a contem- 
plative frown. 


After the return from Connecticut, little 
Jimmie was at first much afraid of the monster 
who lived in the room over the carriage-house. 
He could not identify it in any way. Gradu- 
ally, however, his fear dwindled under the in- 

The Monster 

fluence of a weird fascination. He sidled into 
closer and closer relations with it. 

One time the monster was seated on a box 
behind the stable basking in the rays of the 
afternoon sun. A heavy crepe veil was swathed 
about its head. 

Little Jimmie and many companions came 
around the corner of the stable. They were 
all in what was popularly known as the baby 
class, and consequently escaped from school a 
half -hour before the other children. They 
halted abruptly at sight of the figure on the 
box. Jimmie waved his hand with the air of a 

" There he is," he said. 

" O-o-o !" murmured all the little boys 
"o-o-o !" They shrank back, and grouped ac- 
cording to courage or experience, as at the 
sound the monster slowly turned its head. 
Jimmie had remained in the van alone. 
" Don't be afraid ! I won't let him hurt you," 
he said, delighted. 

" Huh !" they replied, contemptuously. " We 
ain't afraid." 

Jimmie seemed to reap all the joys of the 
owner and exhibitor of one of the world's mar- 
vels, while his audience remained at a distance 
awed and entranced, fearful and envious. 

One of them addressed Jimmie gloomily. 

The Monster 

" Bet you dassent walk right up to him." He 
was an older boy than Jimmie, and habitually 
oppressed him to a small degree. This new 
social elevation of the smaller lad probably 
seemed revolutionary to him. 

" Huh !" said Jimmie, with deep scorn. "Das- 
sent I ? Dassent I, hey ? Dassent I ?" 

The group was immensely excited. It turned 
its eyes upon the boy that Jimmie addressed. 
" No, you dassent," he said, stolidly, facing a 
moral defeat. He could see that Jimmie was 
resolved. " No, you dassent," he repeated, dog- 

"Ho?" cried Jimmie. "You just watch! 
you just watch !" 

Amid a silence he turned and marched tow- 
ards the monster. But possibly the palpable 
wariness of his companions had an effect upon 
him that weighed more than his previous ex- 
perience, for suddenly, when near to the mon- 
ster, he halted dubiously. But his playmates 
immediately uttered a derisive shout, and it 
seemed to force him forward. He went to the 
monster and laid his hand delicately on its 
shoulder. " Hello, Henry," he said, in a voice 
that trembled a trifle. The monster was croon- 
ing a weird line of negro melody that was 
scarcely more than a thread of sound, and it 
paid no heed to the boy. 

The Monster 

Jimmie strutted back to his companions. 
They acclaimed him and hooted his opponent. 
Amid this clamor the larger boy with diffi- 
culty preserved a dignified attitude. 

" I dassent, dassent I ?" said Jimmie to him. 
" Now, you're so smart, let's see you do it !" 

This challenge brought forth renewed taunts 
from the others. The larger boy puffed out 
his cheeks. " Well, I ain't afraid," he explained, 
sullenly. He had made a mistake in diplomacy, 
and now his small enemies were tumbling his 
prestige all about his ears. They crowed like 
roosters and bleated like lambs, and made many 
other noises which were supposed to bury him 
in ridicule and dishonor. "Well, I ain't afraid," 
he continued to explain through the din. 

Jimmie, the hero of the mob, was pitiless. 
" You ain't afraid, hey ?" he sneered. " If you 
ain't afraid, go do it, then." 

" Well, I would if I wanted to," the other re- 
torted. His eyes wore an expression of pro- 
found misery, but he preserved steadily other 
portions of a pot-valiant air. He suddenly 
faced one of his persecutors. " If you're so 
smart, why don't you go do it?" This perse- 
cutor sank promptly through the group to the 
rear. The incident gave the badgered one a 
breathing-spell, and for a moment even turned 
the derision in another direction. He took ad- 

The Monster 

vantage of his interval. " I'll do it if anybody 
else will," he announced, swaggering to and 

Candidates for the adventure did not come 
forward. To defend themselves from this 
counter -charge, the other boys again set up 
their crowing and bleating. For a while they 
would hear nothing from him. Each time he 
opened his lips, their chorus of noises made 
oratory impossible. But at last he was able to 
repeat that he would volunteer to dare as much 
in the affair as any other boy. 

" Well, you go first," they shouted. 

But Jimmie intervened to once more lead 
the populace against the large boy. "You're 
mighty brave, ain't you ?" he said to him. 
" You dared me to do it, and I did didn't I ? 
Now who's afraid ?" The others cheered this 
view loudly, and they instantly resumed the 
baiting of the large boy. 

He shamefacedly scratched his left shin with 
his right foot. " Well, I ain't afraid." He cast 
an eye at the monster. " Well, I ain't afraid." 
With a glare of hatred at his squalling tormen- 
tors, he finally announced a grim intention. 
" Well, I'll do it, then, since you're so fresh. 

The mob subsided as with a formidable 
countenance he turned towards the impassive 

The Monster 

figure on the box. The advance was also a 
regular progression from high daring to craven 
hesitation. At last, when some yards from the 
monster, the lad came to a full halt, as if he had 
encountered a stone wall. The observant lit- 
tle boys in the distance promptly hooted. 
Stung again by these cries, the lad sneaked 
two yards forward. He was crouched like a 
young cat ready for a backward spring. The 
crowd at the rear, beginning to respect this 
display, uttered some encouraging cries. Sud- 
denly the lad gathered himself together, made 
a white and desperate rush forward, touched 
the monster's shoulder with a far-outstretched 
finger, and sped away, while his laughter rang 
out wild, shrill, and exultant. 

The crowd of boys reverenced him at once, 
and began to throng into his camp, and look at 
him, and be his admirers. Jimmie was discom- 
fited for a moment, but he and the larger boy, 
without agreement or word of any kind, seemed 
to recognize a truce, and they swiftly combined 
and began to parade before the others. 

" Why, it's just as easy as nothing," puffed 
the larger boy. " Ain't it, Jim ?" 

" Course," blew Jimmie. '' Why, it's as 

They were people of another class. If they 
had been decorated for courage on twelve bat- 

The Monster 

tie-fields, they could not have made the other 
boys more ashamed of the situation. 

Meanwhile they condescended to explain the 
emotions of the excursion, expressing unquali- 
fied contempt for any one who could hang back. 
" Why, it ain't nothin'. He won't do nothin' 
to you," they told the others, in tones of exas- 

One of the very smallest boys in the party 
showed signs of a wistful desire to distinguish 
himself, and they turned their attention to 
him, pushing at his shoulders while he swung 
away from them, and hesitated dreamily. He 
was eventually induced to make furtive expedi- 
tion, but it was only for a few yards. Then he 
paused, motionless, gazing with open mouth. 
The vociferous entreaties of Jimmie and the 
large boy had no power over him. 

Mrs. Hannigan had come out on her back 
porch with a pail of water. From this coign 
she had a view of the secluded portion of the 
Trescott grounds that was behind the stable. 
She perceived the group of boys, and the mon- 
ster on the box. She shaded her eyes with her 
hand to benefit her vision. She screeched then 
as if she was being murdered. " Eddie ! Ed- 
die ! You come home this minute !" 

Her son querulously demanded, " Aw, what 
for ?" 


The Monster 

"You come home this minute. Do you 

The other boys seemed to think this visita- 
tion upon one of their number required them 
to preserve for a time the hang-dog air of a 
collection of culprits, and they remained in 
guilty silence until the little Hannigan, wrath- 
fully protesting, was pushed through the door 
of his home. Mrs. Hannigan cast a piercing 
glance over the group, stared with a bitter face 
at the Trescott house, as if this new and hand- 
some edifice was insulting her, and then fol- 
lowed her son. 

There was wavering in the party. An inroad 
by one mother always caused them to carefully 
sweep the horizon to see if there were more 
coming. " This is my yard," said Jimmie, 
proudly. "We don't have to go home." 

The monster on the box had turned its black 
crepe countenance towards the sky, and was 
waving its arms in time to a religious chant. 
" Look at him now," cried a little boy. They 
turned, and were transfixed by the solemnity 
and mystery of the indefinable gestures. The 
wail of the melody was mournful and slow. 
They drew back. It seemed to spellbind them 
with the power of a funeral. They were so ab- 
sorbed that they did not hear the doctor's 
buggy drive up to the stable. Trescott got out, 

The Monster 

tied his horse, and approached the group. Jim- 
mie saw him first, and at his look of dismay the 
others wheeled. 

" What's all this, Jimmie ?" asked Trescott, 
in surprise. 

The lad advanced to the front of his com- 
panions, halted, and said nothing. Trescott's 
face gloomed slightly as he scanned the scene. 

" What were you doing, Jimmie ?" 

" We was playin','' answered Jimmie, husk- 

" Playing at what?" 

"Just playin'." 

Trescott looked gravely at the other boys, 
and asked them to please go home. They pro- 
ceeded to the street much in the manner of 
frustrated and revealed assassins. The crime 
of trespass on another boy's place was still a 
crime when they had only accepted the other 
boy's cordial invitation, and they were used to 
being sent out of all manner of gardens upon 
the sudden appearance of a father or a mother. 
Jimmie had wretchedly watched the departure 
of his companions. It involved the loss of his 
position as a lad who controlled the privileges 
of his father's grounds, but then he knew that 
in the beginning he had no right to ask so 
many boys to be his guests. 

Once on the sidewalk, however, they speed- 

The Monster 

ily forgot their shame as trespassers, and the 
large boy launched forth in a description of 
his success in the late trial of courage. As 
they went rapidly up the street, the little boy 
who had made the furtive expedition cried out 
confidently from the rear, " Yes, and I went 
almost up to him, didn't I, Willie ?" 

The large boy crushed him in a few words. 
"Huh!" he scoffed. "You only went a little 
way. I went clear up to him." 

The pace of the other boys was so manly 
that the tiny thing had to trot, and he remain- 
ed at the rear, getting entangled in their legs 
in his attempts to reach the front rank and 
become of some importance, dodging this way 
and that way, and always piping out his little 
claim to glory. 


" By-the-way, Grace," said Trescott, looking 
into the dining-room from his office door, " I 
wish you would send Jimmie to me before 

When Jimmie came, he advanced so quietly 
that Trescott did not at first note him. "Oh," 
he said, wheeling from a cabinet, "here you 
are, young man." 


The Monster 

" Yes, sir." 

Trescott dropped into his chair and tapped 
the desk with a thoughtful finger. "Jimmie, 
what were you doing in the back garden yes- 
terday you and the other boys to Henry?" 

'^ We weren't doing anything, pa." 

Trescott looked sternly into the raised eyes 
of his son. "Are you sure you were not an- 
noying him in any way? Now what were you 
doing, exactly?" 

"Why, we why, we now Willie Dalzel 
said I dassent go right up to him, and I did ; 
and then he did; and then the other boys 
were 'fraid; and then you comed." 

Trescott groaned deeply. His countenance 
was so clouded in sorrow that the lad, bewil- 
dered by the mystery of it, burst suddenly 
forth in dismal lamentations. " There, there. 
Don't cry, Jim," said Trescott, going round 
the desk. " Only " He sat in a great leather 
reading-chair, and took the boy on his knee. 
"Only I want to explain to you " 

After Jimmie had gone to school, and as 
Trescott was about to start on his round of 
morning calls, a message arrived from Doctor 
Moser. It set forth that the latter's sister was 
dying in the old homestead, twenty miles away 
up the valley, and asked Trescott to care for 

The Monster 

his patients for the day at least. There was 
also in the envelope a little history of each case 
and of what had already been done. Trescott 
replied to the messenger that he would gladly 
assent to the arrangement. 

He noted that the first name on Moser's list 
was Winter, but this did not seem to strike 
him as an important fact. When its turn 
came, he rang the Winter bell. "Good-morn- 
ing, Mrs. Winter," he said, cheerfully, as the 
door was opened. " Doctor Moser has been 
obliged to leave town to-day, and he has asked 
me to come in his stead. How is the little 
girl this morning?" 

Mrs. Winter had regarded him in stony sur- 
prise. At last she said: "Come in! I'll see 
my husband." She bolted into the house. 
Trescott entered the hall, and turned to the 
left into the sitting-room. 

Presently Winter shuffled through the door. 
His eyes flashed towards Trescott. He did not 
betray any desire to advance far into the room. 
"What do you want?" he said. 

"What do I want? What do I want?" re- 
peated Trescott, lifting his head suddenly. He 
had heard an utterly new challenge in the 
night of the jungle. 

" Yes, that's what I want to know," snapped 
Winter. "What do you want?" 

The Monster 

Trescott was silent for a moment. He con- 
sulted Moser's memoranda. '' I see that your 
little girl's case is a trifle serious," he remark- 
ed. " I would advise you to call a physician 
soon. I will leave you a copy of Dr. Moser's 
record to give to any one you may call." He 
paused to transcribe the record on a page of 
his note -book. Tearing out the leaf, he ex- 
tended it to Winter as he moved towards the 
door. The latter shrunk against the wall. His 
head was hanging as he reached for the paper. 
This caused him to grasp air, and so Trescott 
simply let the paper flutter to the feet of the 
other man. 

"Good-morning," said Trescott from the hall. 
This placid retreat seemed to suddenly arouse 
Winter to ferocity. It was as if he had then 
recalled all the truths which he had formulated 
to hurl at Trescott. So he followed him into 
the hall, and down the hall to the door, and 
through the door to the porch, barking in fiery 
rage from a respectful distance. As Trescott 
imperturbably turned the mare's head down 
the road, Winter stood on the porch, still yelp- 
ing. He was like a little dog. 

The Monster 


" Have you heard the news ?" cried Carrie 
Dungen, as she sped towards Martha's kitchen. 
" Have you heard the news?" Her eyes were 
shining with delight. 

" No," answered Martha's sister Kate, bend- 
ing forward eagerly. "What was it? What 
was it ?" 

Carrie appeared triumphantly in the open 
door. " Oh, there's been an awful scene be- 
tween Doctor Trescott and Jake Winter. I 
never thought that Jake Winter had any pluck 
at all, but this morning he told the doctor just 
what he thought of him." 

"Well, what did he think of him?" asked 

" Oh, he called him everything. Mrs. How- 
arth heard it through her front blinds. It 
was terrible, she says. It's all over town now. 
Everybody knows it." 

"Didn't the doctor answer back?" 

"No! Mrs. Howarth she says he never 
said a word. He just walked down to his 
buggy and got in, and drove off as co-o-o-1. 
But Jake gave him jinks, by all accounts." 

"But what did he say?" cried Kate, shrill 

The Monster 

and excited. She was evidently at some kind 
of a feast. 

" Oh, he told him that Sadie had never been 
well since that night Henry Johnson fright- 
ened her at Theresa Page's party, and he held 
him responsible, and how dared he cross his 
threshold and and and " 

"And what?" said Martha. 

" Did he swear at him ?" said Kate, in fear- 
some glee. 

" No not much. He did swear at him a 
little, but not more than a man does anyhow 
when he is real mad, Mrs. Howarth says." 

"0-oh!" breathed Kate. "And did he call 
him any names?" 

Martha, at her work, had been for a time 
in deep thought. She now interrupted the 
others. " It don't seem as if Sadie Winter had 
been sick since that time Henry Johnson got 
loose. She's been to school almost the whole 
time since then, hasn't she?" 

They combined upon her in immediate in- 
dignation. "School? School? I should say 
not. Don't think for a moment. School !" 

Martha wheeled from the sink. She held an 
iron spoon, and it seemed as if she was going to 
attack them. " Sadie Winter has passed here 
many a morning since then carrying her school- 
bag. Where was she going? To a wedding?" 

The Monster 

The others, long accustomed to a mental 
tyranny, speedily surrendered. 

" Did she ?" stammered Kate. " I never saw 

Carrie Dungen made a weak gesture. 

" If I had been Doctor Trescott," exclaimed 
Martha, loudly, " I'd have knocked that miser- 
able Jake Winter's head off." 

Kate and Carrie, exchanging glances, made 
an alliance in the air. " I don't see why you 
say that, Martha," replied Carrie, with con- 
siderable boldness, gaining support and sym- 
pathy from Kate's smile. " I don't see how 
anybody can be blamed for getting angry 
when their little girl gets almost scared to 
death and gets sick from it, and all that. Be- 
sides, everybody says " 

"Oh, I don't care what everybody says," 
said Martha. 

" Well, you can't go against the whole town," 
answered Carrie, in sudden sharp defiance. 

" No, Martha, you can't go against the whole 
town," piped Kate, following her leader rap- 

" ' The whole town,' " cried Martha. " I'd 
like to know what you call ' the whole town,' 
Do you call these silly people who are scared 
of Henry Johnson 'the whole town'?" 

"Why, Martha," said Carrie, in a, reasoning 
G 97 

The Monster 

tone, " you talk as if you wouldn't be scared of 
him !" 

"No more would I," retorted Martha. 

" O-oh, Martha, how you talk !" said Kate. 
" Why, the idea ! Everybody's afraid of 

Carrie was grinning. " You've never seen 
him, have you ?" she asked, seductively. 

** No," admitted Martha. 

"Well, then, how do you know that you 
wouldn't be scared ?" 

Martha confronted her. "Have you ever 
seen him ? No ? Well, then, how do you 
know you would be scared ?" 

The allied forces broke out in chorus : " But, 
Martha, everybody says so. Everybody says 

" Everybody says what ?" 

" Everybody that's seen him say they were 
frightened almost to death. 'Tisn't only 
women, but it's men too. It's awful." 

Martha wagged her head solemnly. " I'd try 
not to be afraid of him." 

" But supposing you could not help it ?" said 

"Yes, and look here," cried Carrie. "I'll 
tell you another thing. The Hannigans are 
going to move out of the house next door." 

" On account of him ?" demanded Martha. 

The Monster 

Carrie nodded. " Mrs. Hannigan says so 

"Well, of all things!" ejaculated Martha. 
" Going to move, eh ? You don't say so ! 
Where they going to move to ?" 

" Down on Orchard Avenue." 

" Well, of all things ! Nice house ?" 

" I don't know about that. I haven't heard. 
But there's lots of nice houses on Orchard." 

"Yes, but they're all taken," said Kate. 
" There isn't a vacant house on Orchard 

" Oh yes, there is," said Martha. " The old 
Hampstead house is vacant." 

"Oh, of course," said Kate. "But then I 
don't believe Mrs. Hannigan would like it 
there. I wonder where they can be going to 
move to ?" 

"I'm sure I don't know," sighed Martha. 
"It must be to some place we don't know 

"Well," said Carrie Dungen, after a general 
reflective silence, " it's easy enough to find out, 

" Who knows around here ?" asked Kate. 

"Why, Mrs. Smith, and there she is in her 

garden," said Carrie, jumping to her feet. As 

she dashed out of the door, Kate and Martha 

crowded at the window. Carrie's voice rang 


The Monster 

out from near the steps. " Mrs. Smith ! Mrs. 
Smith ! Do you know where the Hannigans 
are going to move to ?" 


The autumn smote the leaves, and the trees 
of Whilomville were panoplied in crimson and 
yellow. The winds grew stronger, and in the 
melancholy purple of the nights the home 
shine of a window became a finer thing. The 
little boys, watching the sear and sorrowful 
leaves drifting down from the maples, dreamed 
of the near time when they could heap bushels 
in the streets and burn them during the abrupt 

Three men walked down the Niagara Avenue. 
As they approached Judge Hagenthorpe's 
house he came down his walk to meet them 
in the manner of one who has been waiting. 

*' Are you ready, judge?" one said. 

*' All ready," he answered. 

The four then walked to Trescott's house. 
He received them in his office, where he had 
been reading. He seemed surprised at this 
visit of four very active and influential citizens, 
but he had nothing to say of it. 

After they were all seated, Trescott looked 


it's about what nobody talks of MUCH, SAID TWELVE 

The Monster 

expectantly from one face to another. There 
was a little silence. It was broken by John 
Twelve, the wholesale grocer, who was worth 
1400,000, and reported to be worth over a 

"Well, doctor," he said, with a short laugh, 
" I suppose we might as well admit at once 
that we've come to interfere in something 
which is none of our business." 

"Why, what is it?" asked Trescott, again 
looking from one face to another. He seemed 
to appeal particularly to Judge Hagenthorpe, 
but the old man had his chin lowered musingly 
to his cane, and would not look at him. 

"It's about what nobody talks of much," 
said Twelve. " It's about Henry Johnson." 

Trescott squared himself in his chair. " Yes ?" 
he said. 

Having delivered himself of the title, Twelve 
seemed to become more easy. " Yes," he an- 
swered, blandly, " we wanted to talk to you 
about it." 

"Yes?" said Trescott. 

Twelve abruptly advanced on the main 
attack. " Now see here, Trescott, we like you, 
and we have come to talk right out about this 
business. It may be none of our affairs and 
all that, and as for me, I don't mind if you tell 
me so ; but I am not going to keep quiet and 


The Monster 

see you ruin yourself. And that's how we all 

" I am not ruining myself," answered Tres- 

"No, maybe you are not exactly ruining 
yourself," said Twelve, slowly, " but you are 
doing yourself a great deal of harm. You 
have changed from being the leading doctor 
in town to about the last one. It is mainly 
because there are always a large number of 
people who are very thoughtless fools, of 
course, but then that doesn't change the con- 

A man who had not heretofore spoken said, 
solemnly, " It's the women." 

" Well, what I want to say is this," resumed 
Twelve : " Even if there are a lot of fools in 
the world, we can't see any reason why you 
should ruin yourself by opposing them. You 
can't teach them anything, you know." 

"I am not trying to teach them anything." 
Trescott smiled wearily. " I It is a matter of 

" And there are a good many of us that ad- 
mire youfor it immensely, "interruptedTwelve; 
"but that isn't going to change the minds of all 
those ninnies." 

" It's the women," stated the advocate of this 
view again. 

1 02 

The Monster 

"Well, what I want to say is this,"said Twelve. 
"We want you to get out of this trouble and 
strike your old gait again. You are simply kill- 
ing your practice through your infernal pig- 
headedness. Now this thing is out of the or- 
dinary, but there must be ways to to beat the 
game somehow, you see. So we've talked it 
over about a dozen of us and, as I say, if you 
want to tell us to mind our own business, why, 
go ahead ; but we've talked it over, and we've 
come to the conclusion that the only way to do 
is to get Johnson a place somewhere off up the 
valley, and " 

Trescott wearily gestured. " You don't know, 
my friend. Everybody is so afraid of him, they 
can't even give him good care. Nobody can 
attend to him as I do myself." 

" But I have a little no-good farm up beyond 
Clarence Mountain that I was going to give to 
Henry," cried Twelve, aggrieved. " And if you 
and if you if you through your house burn- 
ing down, or anything why, all the boys were 
prepared to take him right off your hands, and 
and " 

Trescott arose and went to the window. He 
turned his back upon them. They sat waiting 
in silence. When he returned he kept his face 
in the shadow. " No, John Twelve," he said, 
"it can't be done." 


The Monster 

There was another stillness. Suddenly a man 
stirred on his chair. 

" Well, then, a public institution " he began. 

" No," said Trescott; " public institutions are 
all very good, but he is not going to one." 

In the background of the group old Judge 
Hagenthorpe was thoughtfully smoothing the 
polished ivory head of his cane. 


Trescott loudly stamped the snow from his 
feet and shook the flakes from his shoulders. 
When he entered the house he went at once to 
the dining-room, and then to the sitting-room. 
Jimmie was there, reading painfully in a large 
book concerning giraffes and tigers and croco- 

"Where is your mother, Jimmie?" asked 

" I don't know, pa," answered the boy. " I 
think she is up-stairs." 

Trescott went to the foot of the stairs and 
called, but there came no answer. Seeing that 
the door of the little drawing-room was open, 
he entered. The room was bathed in the half- 
light that came from the four dull panes of 
mica in the front of the great stove. As his 

The Monster 

eyes grew used to the shadows he saw his wife 
curled in an arm-chair. He went to her. " Why, 
Grace," he said, "didn't you hear me calling 
you ?" 

She made no answer, and as he bent over the 
chair he heard her trying to smother a sob in 
the cushion. 

" Grace !" he cried. " You're crying !" 

She raised her face. " I've got a headache, a 
dreadful headache, Ned." 

" A headache ?" he repeated, in surprise and 

He pulled a chair close to hers. Later, as he 
cast his eye over the zone of light shed by the 
dull red panes, he saw that a low table had been 
drawn close to the stove, and that it was bur- 
dened with many small cups and plates of uncut 
tea-cake. He remembered that the day was 
Wednesday, and that his wife received on Wed- 

"Who was here to-day, Gracie ?" he asked. 

From his shoulder there came a mumble, 
"Mrs. Twelve." 

"Was she um," he said. "Why didn't 
Anna Hagenthorpe come over ?" 

The mumble from his shoulder continued, 
" She wasn't well enough." 

Glancing down at the cups, Trescott mechan- 
ically counted them. There were fifteen of 

The Monster 

them. " There, there," he said. " Don't cry, 
Grace. Don't cry." 

The wind was whining round the house, and 
the snow beat aslant upon the windows. Some- 
times the coal in the stove settled with a crum- 
bling sound, and the four panes of mica flashed 
a sudden new crimson. As he sat holding her 
head on his shoulder, Trescott found himself 
occasionally trying to count the cups. There 
were fifteen of them. 



The Palace Hotel at Fort Romper was painted 
a light blue, a shade that is on the legs of a 
kind of heron, causing the bird to declare its 
position against any background. The Palace 
Hotel, then, was always screaming and howling 
in a way that made the dazzling winter land- 
scape of Nebraska seem only a gray swampish 
hush. It stood alone on the prairie, and when 
the snow was falling the town two hundred 
yards away was not visible. But when the 
traveller alighted at the railway station he 
was obliged to pass the Palace Hotel before he 
could come upon the company of low clapboard 
houses which composed Fort Romper, and it 
was not to be thought that any traveller could 
pass the Palace Hotel without looking at it. 
Pat Scully, the proprietor, had proved himself 
a master of strategy when he chose his paints. 

The Blue Hotel 

It is true that on clear days, when the great 
trans-continental expresses, long lines of sway- 
ing Pullmans, swept through Fort Romper, 
passengers were overcome at the sight, and 
the cult that knows the brown-reds and the 
subdivisions of the dark greens of the East ex- 
pressed shame, pity, horror, in a laugh. But 
to the citizens of this prairie town and to the 
people who would naturally stop there, Pat 
Scully had performed a feat. With this opu- 
lence and splendor, these creeds, classes, ego- 
tisms, that streamed through Romper on the 
rails day after day, they had no color in com- 

As if the displayed delights of such a blue 
hotel were not sufficiently enticing, it was 
Scully's habit to go every morning and even- 
ing to meet the leisurely trains that stopped at 
Romper and work his seductions upon any man 
that he might see wavering, gripsack in hand. 

One morning, when a snow-crusted engine 
dragged its long string of freight cars and its 
one passenger coach to the station, Scully per- 
formed the marvel of catching three men. 
One was a shaky and quick-eyed Swede, with 
a great shining cheap valise ; one was a tall 
bronzed cowboy, who was on his way to a 
ranch near the Dakota line ; one was a little 
silent man from the East, who didn't look it, 

The Blue Hotel 

and didn't announce it. Scully practically 
made them prisoners. He was so nimble and 
merry and kindly that each probably felt it 
would be the height of brutality to try to es- 
cape. They trudged off over the creaking board 
sidewalks in the wake of the eager little Irish- 
man. He wore a heavy fur cap squeezed tight- 
ly down on his head. It caused his two red 
ears to stick out stiffly, as if they were made 
of tin. 

At last, Scully, elaborately, with boisterous 
hospitality, conducted them through the por- 
tals of the blue hotel. The room which they 
entered was small. It seemed to be merely a 
proper temple for an enormous stove, which, 
in the centre, was humming with godlike vio- 
lence. At various points on its surface the 
iron had become luminous and glowed yellow 
from the heat. Beside the stove Scully's son 
Johnnie was playing High-Five with an old 
farmer who had whiskers both gray and sandy. 
They were quarrelling. Frequently the old 
farmer turned his face towards a box of saw- 
dust colored brown from tobacco juice that 
was behind the stove, and spat with an air of 
great impatience and irritation. With a loud 
flourish of words Scully destroyed the game of 
cards, and bustled his son up-stairs with part 
of the baggage of the new guests. He him- 

The Blue Hotel 

self conducted them to three basins of the cold- 
est water in the world. The cowboy and the 
Easterner burnished themselves fiery-red with 
this water, until it seemed to be some kind of 
a metal polish. The Swede, however, merely 
dipped his fingers gingerly and with trepida- 
tion. It was notable that throughout this 
series of small ceremonies the three travel- 
lers were made to feel that Scully was very 
benevolent. He was conferring great favors 
upon them. He handed the towel from one 
to the other with an air of philanthropic im- 

Afterwards they went to the first room, and, 
sitting about the stove, listened to Scully's 
officious clamor at his daughters, who were 
preparing the mid-day meal. They reflected 
in the silence of experienced men who tread 
carefully amid new people. Nevertheless, the 
old farmer, stationary, invincible in his chair 
near the warmest part of the stove, turned his 
face from the sawdust box frequently and ad- 
dressed a glowing commonplace to the stran- 
gers. Usually he was answered in short but 
adequate sentences by either the cowboy or 
the Easterner. The Swede said nothing. He 
seemed to be occupied in making furtive esti- 
mates of each man in the room. One might 
have thought that he had the sense of silly 


The Blue Hotel 

suspicion which comes to guilt. He resembled 
a badly frightened man. 

Later, at dinner, he spoke a little, addressing 
his conversation entirely to Scully. He volun- 
teered that he had come from New York, where 
for ten years he had worked as a tailor. These 
facts seemed to strike Scully as fascinating, and 
afterwards he volunteered that he had lived at 
Romper for fourteen years. The Swede asked 
about the crops and the price of labor. He 
seemed barely to listen to Scully's extended re- 
plies. His eyes continued to rove from man to 

Finally, with a laugh and a wink, he said that 
some of these Western communities were very 
dangerous ; and after his statement he straight- 
ened his legs under the table, tilted his head, 
and laughed again, loudly. It was plain that 
the demonstration had no meaning to the 
others. They looked at him wondering and in 


As the men trooped heavily back into the 
front-room, the two little windows presented 
views of a turmoiling sea of snow. The huge 
arms of the wind were making attempts 
mighty, circular, futile to embrace the flakes 
H 113 

The Blue Hotel 

as they sped. A gate-post like a still man with a 
blanched face stood aghast amid this profligate 
fury. In a hearty voice Scully announced the 
presence of a blizzard. The guests of the blue 
hotel, lighting their pipes, assented with grunts 
of lazy masculine contentment. No island of 
the sea could be exempt in the degree of this 
little room with its humming stove. Johnnie, 
son of Scully, in a tone which defined his opin- 
ion of his ability as a card-player, challenged 
the old farmer of both gray and sandy whiskers 
to a game of High-Five. The farmer agreed 
with a contemptuous and bitter scotf. They 
sat close to the stove, and squared their knees 
under a wide board. The cowboy and the East- 
erner watched the game with interest. The 
Swede remained near the window, aloof, but 
with a countenance that showed signs of an in- 
explicable excitement. 

The play of Johnnie and the gray-beard was 
suddenly ended by another quarrel. The old 
man arose while casting a look of heated scorn 
at his adversary. He slowly buttoned his coat, 
and then stalked with fabulous dignity from 
the room. In the discreet silence of all other 
men the Swede laughed. His laughter rang 
somehow childish. Men by this time had begun 
to look at him askance, as if they wished to in- 
quire what ailed him. 


The Blue Hotel 

A new game was formed jocosely. The cow- 
boy volunteered to become the partner of John- 
nie, and they all then turned to ask the Swede 
to throw in his lot with the little Easterner. 
He asked some questions about the game, and, 
learning that it wore many names, and that he 
had played it when it was under an alias, he ac- 
cepted the invitation. He strode towards the 
men nervously, as if he expected to be assault- 
ed. Finally, seated, he gazed from face to face 
and laughed shrilly. This laugh was so strange 
that the Easterner looked up quickly, the cow- 
boy sat intent and with his mouth open, and 
Johnnie paused, holding the cards with still 

Afterwards there was a short silence. Then 
Johnnie said, " Well, let's get at it. Come on 
now !" They pulled their chairs forward until 
their knees were bunched under the board. 
They began to play, and their interest in the 
game caused the others to forget the manner 
of the Swede. 

The cowboy was a board - whacker. Each 
time that he held superior cards he whanged 
them, one by one, with exceeding force, down 
upon the improvised table, and took the tricks 
with a glowing air of prowess and pride that 
sent thrills of indignation into the hearts of his 
opponents. A game with a board-whacker in 

The Blue Hotel 

it is sure to become intense. The countenances 
of the Easterner and the Swede were miserable 
whenever the cowboy thundered down his aces 
and kings, while Johnnie, his eyes gleaming 
with joy, chuckled and chuckled. 

Because of the absorbing play none consid- 
ered the strange ways of the Swede. They 
paid strict heed to the game. Finally, during 
a lull caused by a new deal, the Swede sudden- 
ly addressed Johnnie : " I suppose there have 
been a good many men killed in this room." 
The jaws of the others dropped and they looked 
at him. 

''What in hell are you talking about?" said 

The Swede laughed again his blatant laugh, 
full of a kind of false courage and defiance. 
" Oh, you know what I mean all right," he an- 

" I'm a liar if I do !" Johnnie protested. The 
card was halted, and the men stared at the 
Swede. Johnnie evidently felt that as the son 
of the proprietor he should make a direct in- 
quiry. *' Now, what might you be drivin' at, 
mister ?" he asked. The Swede winked at him. 
It was a wink full of cunning. His fingers 
shook on the edge of the board. " Oh, maybe 
you think I have been to nowheres. Maybe 
you think I'm a tenderfoot?" 

The Blue Hotel 

" I don't know nothin' about you," answered 
Johnnie, "and I don't give a damn where 
you've been. All I got to say is that I don't 
know what you're driving at. There hain't 
never been nobody killed in this room." 

The cowboy, who had been steadily gazing 
at the Swede, then spoke : " What's wrong 
with you, mister ?" 

Apparently it seemed to the Swede that he 
was formidably menaced. He shivered and 
turned white near the corners of his mouth. 
He sent an appealing glance in the direction of 
the little Easterner. During these moments 
he did not forget to wear his air of advanced 
pot-valor. " They say they don't know what I 
mean," he remarked mockingly to the East- 

The latter answered after prolonged and 
cautious reflection. " I don't understand you," 
he said, impassively. * 

The Swede made a movement then which 
announced that he thought he had encountered 
treachery from the only quarter where he had 
expected sympathy, if not help. " Oh, I see 
you are all against me. I see " 

The cowboy was in a state of deep stupefac- 
tion. " Say," he cried, as he tumbled the deck 
violently down upon the board "say, what 
are you gittin' at, hey ?" 

The Blue Hotel 

The Swede sprang up with the celerity of a 
man escaping from a snake on the floor. " I 
don't want to fight !" he shouted. " I don't 
want to fight I" 

The cowboy stretched his long legs indolent- 
ly and deliberately. His hands were in his 
pockets. He spat into the sawdust box. " Well, 
who the hell thought you did ?" he inquired. 

The Swede backed rapidly towards a corner 
of the room. His hands were out protectingly 
in front of his chest, but he was making an ob- 
vious struggle to control his fright. " Gentle- 
men," he quavered, " I suppose I am going to 
be killed before I can leave this house ! I sup- 
pose I am going to be killed before I can leave 
this house!" In his eyes was the dying-swan 
look. Through the windows could be seen the 
snow turning blue in the shadow of dusk. The 
wind tore at the house and some loose thing 
beat regularly against the clap-boards like a 
spirit tapping. 

A door opened, and Scully himself entered. 
He paused in surprise as he noted the tragic 
attitude of the Swede. Then he said, " What's 
the matter here ?" 

The Swede answered him swiftly and eager- 
ly : " These men are going to kill me." 

" Kill you !" ejaculated Scully. " Kill you ! 
What are you talkin' ?" 


The Blue Hotel 

The Swede made the gesture of a martyr. 

Scully wheeled sternly upon his son. " What 
is this, Johnnie?" 

The lad had grown sullen. " Damned if I 
know," he answered. " I can't make no sense 
to it." He began to shuffle the cards, fluttering 
them together with an angry snap. " He says 
a good many men have been killed in this 
room, or something like that. And he says 
he's goin' to be killed here too. I don't know 
what ails him. He's crazy, I shouldn't won- 

Scully then looked for explanation to the 
cowboy, but the cowboy simply shrugged his 

" Kill you ?" said Scully again to the Swede. 
" Kill you? Man, you're off your nut." 

"Oh, I know," burst out the Swede. "I 
know what will happen. Yes, I'm crazy yes. 
Yes, of course, I'm crazy yes. But I know 
one thing " There was a sort of sweat of mis- 
ery and terror upon his face. " I know I won't 
get out of here alive." 

The cowboy drew a deep breath, as if his 
mind was passing into the last stages of disso- 
lution. " Well, I'm dog-goned," he whispered 
to himself. 

Scully wheeled suddenly and faced his son. 
"You've been troublin' this man!" 

The Blue Hotel 

Johnnie's voice was loud with its burden of 
grievance. " Why, good Gawd, I ain't done 
nothin' to 'im." 

The Swede broke in. "Gentlemen, do not 
disturb yourselves. I will leave this house. 
I will go away because" he accused them 
dramatically with his glance "because I do 
not want to be killed." 

Scully was furious with his son. " Will 
you tell me what is the matter, you young 
divil? What's the matter, anyhow? Speak 
out !" 

" Blame it !" cried Johnnie in despair, "don't 
I tell you I don't know. He he says we want 
to kill him, and that's all I know. I can't tell 
what ails him." 

The Swede continued to repeat: "Never 
mind, Mr. Scully ; never mind. I will leave this 
house. I will go away, because I do not wish 
to be killed. Yes, of course, I am crazy yes. 
But I know one thing! I will go away. I will 
leave this house. Never mind, Mr. Scully ; 
never mind. I will go away." 

" You will not go 'way," said Scully. " You 
will not go 'way until I hear the reason of this 
business. If anybody has troubled you I will 
take care of him. This is my house. You are 
under my roof, and I will not allow any peace- 
able man to be troubled here." He cast a ter- 


The Blue Hotel 

rible eye upon Johnnie, the cowboy, and the 

" Never mind, Mr. Scully ; never mind. I 
will go away. I do not wish to be killed." The 
Swede moved towards the door, which opened 
upon the stairs. It was evidently his intention 
to go at once for his baggage. 

" No, no," shouted Scully peremptorily ; but 
the white-faced man slid by him and disap- 
peared. " Now," said Scully severely, " what 
does this mane?" 

Johnnie and the cowboy cried together : 
" Why, we didn't do nothin' to 'im !" 

Scully's eyes were cold. "No," he said, "you 

Johnnie swore a deep oath. " Why, this is 
the wnldest loon I ever see. We didn't do 
nothin' at all. We were jest sittin' here playin' 
cards, and he " 

The father suddenly spoke to the Easterner. 
"Mr. Blanc," he asked, "what has these boys 
been doin' ?" 

The Easterner reflected again. " I didn't see 
anything wrong at all," he said at last, slowly. 

Scully began to howl. " But what does it 
mane?" He stared ferociously at his son. " I 
have a mind to lather you for this, me boy." 

Johnnie was frantic. " Well, what have I 
done?" he bawled at his father. 

The Blue Hotel 


"I think you are tongue-tied," said Scully 
finally to his son, the cowboy, and the East- 
erner; and at the end of this scornful sentence 
he left the room. 

Up-stairs the Swede was swiftly fastening the. 
straps of his great valise. Once his back hap- 
pened to be half turned towards the door, and, 
hearing a noise there, he wheeled and sprang 
up, uttering a loud cry. Scully's wrinkled vis- 
age showed grimly in the light of the small 
lamp he carried. This yellow effulgence, 
streaming upward, colored only his promi- 
nent features, and left his eyes, for instance, 
in mysterious shadow. He resembled a mur- 

"Man! man!" he exclaimed, "have you gone 
daffy ?" 

"Oh, no! Oh, no!" rejoined the other. 
" There .are people in this world who know 
pretty nearly as much as you do under- 
stand ?" 

For a moment they stood gazing at each 
other. Upon the Swede's deathly pale cheeks 
were two spots brightly crimson and sharply 
edged, as if they had been carefully painted. 
Scully placed the light on the table and sat 

The Blue Hotel 

himself on the edge of the bed. He spoke ru- 
minatively. " By cracky, I never heard of 
such a thing in my life. It's a complete mud- 
dle. I can't, for the soul of me, think how you 
ever got this idea into your head." Presently 
he lifted his eyes and asked: "And did you 
sure think they were going to kill you ?" 

The Swede scanned the old man as if he 
wished to see into his mind. " I did," he said 
at last. He obviously suspected that this an- 
swer might precipitate an outbreak. As he 
pulled on a strap his whole arm shook, the el- 
bow wavering like a bit of paper. 

Scully banged his hand impressively on the 
foot-board of the bed. " Why, man, we're goin' 
to have a line of ilictric street-cars in this town 
next spring." 

"*A line of electric street-cars,'" repeated 
the Swede, stupidly. 

"And," said Scully, "there's a new railroad 
goin' to be built down from Broken Arm to 
here. Not to mintion the four churches and 
the smashin' big brick school-house. Then 
there's the big factory, too. Why, in two 
years Romper '11 be a met-tro-/^/-is." 

Having finished the preparation of his bag- 
gage, the Swede straightened himself. " Mr. 
Scully," he said, with sudden hardihood, "how 
much do I owe you ?" 


The Blue Hotel 

"You don't owe me anythin','' said the old 
man, angrily. 

"Yes, I do," retorted the Swede. He took 
seventy -five cents from his pocket and ten- 
dered it to Scully ; but the latter snapped his 
fingers in disdainful refusal. However, it hap- 
pened that they both stood gazing in a strange 
fashion at three silver pieces on the Swede's 
open palm. 

" I'll not take your money," said Scully at 
last. " Not after what's been goin' on here." 
Then a plan seemed to strike him. " Here," 
he cried, picking up his lamp and moving tow- 
ards the door. " Here ! Come with me a 

" No," said the Swede, in overwhelming 

"Yes," urged the old man. "Come on ! I 
want you to come and see a picter just across 
the hall in my room." 

The Swede must have concluded that his 
hour was come. His jaw dropped and his 
teeth showed like a dead man's. He ultimate- 
ly followed Scully across the corridor, but he 
had the step of one hung in chains. 

Scully flashed the light high on the wall of 
his own chamber. There was revealed a ridicu- 
lous photograph of a little girl. She was lean- 
ing against a balustrade of gorgeous decora- 

The Blue Hotel 

tion, and the formidable bang to her hair was 
prominent. The figure was as graceful as an 
upright sled-stake, and, withal, it was of the 
hue of lead. " There," said Scully, tenderly, 
"that's the picter of my little girl that died. 
Her name was Carrie. She had the purtiest 
hair you ever saw ! I was that fond of her, 
she " 

Turning then, he saw that the Swede was not 
contemplating the picture at all, but, instead, 
was keeping keen watch on the gloom in the 

" Look, man !" cried Scully, heartily. " That's 
the picter of my little gal that died. Her name 
was Carrie. And then here's the picter of my 
oldest boy, Michael. He's a lawyer in Lincoln, 
an' doin' well. I gave that boy a grand eddy- 
cation, and I'm glad for it now. He's a fine 
boy. Look at 'im now. Ain't he bold as blazes, 
him there in Lincoln, an honored an' respicted 
gintleman. An honored an' respicted gintle- 
man," concluded Scully with a flourish. And, 
so saying, he smote the Swede jovially on the 

The Swede faintly smiled. 

" Now," said the old man, " there's only one 

more thing." He dropped suddenly to the floor 

and thrust his head beneath the bed. The 

Swede could hear his muffled voice. " I'd keep 


The Blue Hotel 

it under me piller if it wasn't for that boy John- 
nie. Then there's the old woman Where is 
it now ? I never put it twice in the same place. 
Ah, now come out with you !" 

Presently he backed clumsily from under the 
bed, dragging with him an old coat rolled into 
a bundle. "I've fetched him," he muttered. 
Kneeling on the floor, he unrolled the coat and 
extracted from its heart a large yellow-brown 
whiskey bottle. 

His first manoeuvre was to hold the bottle up 
to the light. Reassured, apparently, that no- 
body had been tampering with it, he thrust it 
with a generous movement towards the Swede. 

The weak-kneed Swede was about to eagerly 
clutch this element of strength, but he suddenly 
jerked his hand away and cast a look of horror 
upon Scully. 

" Drink," said the old man affectionately. 
He had risen to his feet, and now stood facing 
the Swede. 

There was a silence. Then again Scully said : 

The Swede laughed wildly. He grabbed the 
bottle, put it to his mouth, and as his lips curled 
absurdly around the opening and his throat 
worked, he kept his glance, burning with hatred, 
upon the old man's face. 

The Blue Hotel 


After the departure of Scully the three men, 
with the card-board still upon their knees, pre- 
served for a long time an astounded silence. 
Then Johnnie said: "That's the dod-dangest 
Swede I ever see." 

" He ain't no Swede," said the cowboy, scorn- 

"Well, what is he then?" cried Johnnie. 
"What is he then?" 

" It's my opinion," replied the cowboy delib- 
erately, " he's some kind of a Dutchman." It 
was a venerable custom of the country to en- 
title as Swedes all light-haired men who spoke 
with a heavy tongue. In consequence the idea 
of the cowboy was not without its daring. " Yes, 
sir," he repeated. " It's my opinion this feller 
is some kind of a Dutchman." 

"Well, he says he's a Swede, anyhow," mut- 
tered Johnnie, sulkily. He turned to the East- 
erner : "What do you think, Mr. Blanc ?" 

"Oh, I don't know," replied the Easterner. 

" Well, what do you think makes him act that 
way ?" asked the cowboy. 

"Why, he's frightened." The Easterner 
knocked his pipe against a rim of the stove. 
" He's clear frightened out of his boots." 

The Blue Hotel 

"What at?" cried Johnnie and cowboy to- 

The Easterner reflected over his answer. 

"What at?" cried the others again. 

"Oh, I don't know, but it seems to me this 
man has been reading dime -novels, and he 
thinks he's right out in the middle of it the 
shootin' and stabbin' and all." 

"But," said the cowboy, deeply scandalized, 
" this ain't Wyoming, ner none of them places. 
This is Nebrasker." 

" Yes," added Johnnie, " an' why don't he 
wait till he gits out West f" 

The travelled Easterner laughed. "It isn't 
different there even not in these days. But 
he thinks he's right in the middle of hell." 

Johnnie and the cowboy mused long. 

" It's awful funny," remarked Johnnie at 

"Yes," said the cowboy. "This is a queer 
game. I hope we don't git snowed in, because 
then we'd have to stand this here man bein' 
around with us all the time. That wouldn't be 
no good." 

" I wish pop would throw him out," said 

Presently they heard a loud stamping on the 
stairs, accompanied by ringing jokes in the 
voice of old Scully, and laughter, evidently from 

The Blue Hotel 

the Swede. The men around the stove stared 
vacantly at each other. "Gosh !" said the cow- 
boy. The door flew open, and old Scully, flushed 
and anecdotal, came into the room. He was 
jabbering at the Swede, who followed him, 
laughing bravely. It was the entry of two 
roisterers from a banquet-hall. 

"Come now," said Scully sharply to the three 
seated men, " move up and give us a chance at 
the stove." The cowboy and the Easterner 
obediently sidled their chairs to make room for 
the new-comers. Johnnie, however, simply ar- 
ranged himself in a more indolent attitude, and 
then remained motionless. 

" Come ! Git over, there," said Scully. 

" Plenty of room on the other side of the 
stove," said Johnnie. 

" Do you think we want to sit in the draught ?" 
roared the father. 

But the Swede here interposed with a gran- 
deur of confidence. '* No, no. Let the boy sit 
where he likes," he cried in a bullying voice to 
the father. 

"All right! All right !" said Scully, defer- 
entially. The cowboy and the Easterner ex- 
changed glances of wonder. 

The five chairs were formed in a crescent 
about one side of the stove. The Swede began 
to talk; he talked arrogantly, profanely, an- 
I 129 

The Blue Hotel 

grily. Johnnie, the cowboy, and the Easterner 
maintained a morose silence, while old Scully 
appeared to be receptive and eager, break- 
ing in constantly with sympathetic ejacula- 

Finally the Swede announced that he was 
thirsty. He moved in his chair, and said that 
he would go for a drink of water. 

" I'll git it for you," cried Scully at once. 

" No," said the Swede, contemptuously. " I'll 
get it for myself." He arose and stalked with 
the air of an owner off into the executive parts 
of the hotel. 

As soon as the Swede was out of hearing 
Scully sprang to his feet and whispered in- 
tensely to the others : " Up-stairs he thought 
I was tryin' to poison 'im." 

"Say," said Johnnie, "this makes me sick. 
Why don't you throw 'im out in the snow?" 

" Why, he's all right now," declared Scully. 
" It was only that he was from the East, and 
he thought this was a tough place. That's all. 
He's all right now." 

The cowboy looked with admiration upon 
the Easterner. " You were straight," he said. 
" You were on to that there Dutchman." 

" Well," said Johnnie to his father, " he may 
be all right now, but I don't see it. Other time 
he was scared, but now he's too fresh." 

The Blue Hotel 

Scully's speech was always a combination of 
Irish brogue and idiom, Western twang and 
idiom, and scraps of curiously formal diction 
taken from the story-books and newspapers. 
He now hurled a strange mass of language at 
the head of his son. " What do I keep ? What 
do I keep ? What do I keep ?" he demanded, 
in a voice of thunder. He slapped his knee 
impressively, to indicate that he himself was 
going to make reply, and that all should heed. 
*' I keep a hotel," he shouted. "A hotel, do 
you mind ? A guest under my roof has sacred 
privileges. He is to be intimidated by none. 
Not one word shall he hear that would priju- 
dice him in favor of goin' away. I'll not have 
it. There's no place in this here town where 
they can say they iver took in a guest of mine 
because he was afraid to stay here." He 
wheeled suddenly upon the cowboy and the 
Easterner. " Am I right ?" 

" Yes, Mr. Scully, " said the cowboy, " I think 
you're right." 

" Yes, Mr. Scully," said the Easterner, " I 
think you're right." 

The Blue Hotel 

At six-o'clock supper, the Swede fizzed like 
a fire -wheel. He sometimes seemed on the 
point of bursting into riotous song, and in all 
his madness he was encouraged by old Scully. 
The Easterner was incased in reserve ; the 
cowboy sat in wide-mouthed amazement, for- 
getting to eat, while Johnnie wrathily demol- 
ished great plates of food. The daughters of 
the house, when they were obliged to replenish 
the biscuits, approached as warily as Indians, 
and, having succeeded in their purpose, fled 
with ill - concealed trepidation. The Swede 
domineered the whole feast, and he gave it the 
appearance of a cruel bacchanal. He seemed 
to have grown suddenly taller ; he gazed, bru- 
tally disdainful, into every face. His voice 
rang through the room. Once when he jabbed 
out harpoon-fashion with his fork to pinion a 
biscuit, the weapon nearly impaled the hand of 
the Easterner which had been stretched quiet- 
ly out for the same biscuit. 

After supper, as the men filed towards the 
other room, the Swede smote Scully ruthlessly 
on the shoulder. " Well, old boy, that was a 
good, square meal." Johnnie looked hopefully 
at his father ; he knew that shoulder was ten- 

The Blue Hotel 

der from an old fall ; and, indeed, it appeared 
for a moment as if Scully was going to flame 
out over the matter, but in the end he smiled 
a sickly smile and remained silent. The others 
understood from his manner that he was ad- 
mitting his responsibility for the Swede's new 

Johnnie, however, addressed his parent in an 
aside. " Why don't you license somebody to 
kick you down-stairs ?" Scully scowled darkly 
by way of reply. 

When they were gathered about the stove, 
the Swede insisted on another game of High- 
Five. Scully gently deprecated the plan at 
first, but the Swede turned a wolfish glare upon 
him. The old man subsided, and the Swede 
canvassed the others. In his tone there was 
always a great threat. The cowboy and the 
Easterner both remarked indifferently that 
they would play. Scully said that he would 
presently have to go to meet the 6.58 train, 
and so the Swede turned menacingly upon 
Johnnie. For a moment their glances crossed 
like blades, and then Johnnie smiled and said, 
'^Yes, I'll play." 

They formed a square, with the little board 

on their knees. The Easterner and the Swede 

were again partners. As the play went on, it 

was noticeable that the cowboy was not board- 


The Blue Hotel 

whacking as usual. Meanwhile, Scully, near 
the lamp, had put on his spectacles and, with 
an appearance curiously like an old priest, was 
reading a newspaper. In time he went out to 
meet the 6.58 train, and, despite his precautions, 
a gust of polar wind whirled into the room as 
he opened the door. Besides scattering the 
cards, it chilled the players to the marrow. 
The Swede cursed frightfully. When Scully 
returned, his entrance disturbed a cosey and 
friendly scene. The Swede again cursed. But 
presently they were once more intent, their 
heads bent forward and their hands moving 
swiftly. The Swede had adopted the fashion 
of board-whacking. 

Scully took up his paper and for a long time 
remained immersed in matters which were 
extraordinarily remote from him. The lamp 
burned badly, and once he stopped to adjust 
the wick. The newspaper, as he turned from 
page to page, rustled with a slow and comfort- 
able sound. Then suddenly he heard three ter- 
rible words : " You are cheatin' !" 

Such scenes often prove that there can be 
little of dramatic import in environment. Any 
room can present a tragic front ; any room can 
be comic. This little den was now hideous as 
a torture-chamber. The new faces of the men 
themselves had changed it upon the instant. 

The Blue Hotel 

The Swede held a huge fist in front of Johnnie's 
face, while the latter looked steadily over it 
into the blazing orbs of his accuser. The 
Easterner had grown pallid ; the cowboy's jaw 
had dropped in that expression of bovine 
amazement which was one of his important 
mannerisms. After the three words, the first 
sound in the room was made by Scully's paper 
as it floated forgotten to his feet. His spec- 
tacles had also fallen from his nose, but by a 
clutch he had saved them in air. His hand, 
grasping the spectacles, now remained poised 
awkwardly and near his shoulder. He stared 
at the card-players. 

Probably the silence was while a second 
elapsed. Then, if the floor had been suddenly 
twitched out from under the men they could 
not have moved quicker. The five had pro- 
jected themselves headlong towards a common 
point. It happened that Johnnie, in rising to 
hurl himself upon the Swede, had stumbled 
slightly because of his curiously instinctive 
care for the cards and the board. The loss 
of the moment allowed time for the arrival of 
Scully, and also allowed the cowboy time to 
give the Swede a great push which sent him 
staggering back. The men found tongue to- 
gether, and hoarse shouts of rage, appeal, or 
fear burst from every throat. The cowboy 

The Blue Hotel 

pushed and jostled feverishly at the Swede, 
and the Easterner and Scully clung wildly to 
Johnnie ; but, through the smoky air, above 
the swaying bodies of the peace - compellers, 
the eyes of the two warriors ever sought each 
other in glances of challenge that were at once 
hot and steely. 

Of course the board had been overturned, 
and now the whole company of cards was 
scattered over the floor, where the boots 
of the men trampled the fat and painted 
kings and queens as they gazed with their 
silly eyes at the war that was waging above 

Scully's voice was dominating the yells. 
" Stop now ? Stop, I say ! Stop, now " 

Johnnie, as he struggled to burst through 
the rank formed by Scully and the Easterner, 
was crying, "Well, he says I cheated! He 
says I cheated ! I won't allow no man to 
say I cheated ! If he says I cheated, he's a 

The cowboy was telling the Swede, "Quit, 
now ! Quit, d'ye hear " 

The screams of the Swede never ceased : 
" He did cheat ! I saw him ! I saw him " 

As for the Easterner, he was importuning 
in a voice that was not heeded : " Wait a mo- 
ment, can't you ? Oh, wait a moment. What's 

The Blue Hotel 

the good of a fight over a game of cards ? Wait 
a moment " 

In this tumult no complete sentences were 
clear. "Cheat" "Quit" "He says" these 
fragments pierced the uproar and rang out 
sharply. It was remarkable that, whereas 
Scully undoubtedly made the most noise, 
he was the least heard of any of the riotous 

Then suddenly there was a great cessation. 
It was as if each man had paused for breath ; 
and although the room was still lighted with 
the anger of men, it could be seen that there 
was no danger of immediate conflict, and at 
once Johnnie, shouldering his way forward, 
almost succeeded in confronting the Swede. 
" What did you say I cheated for ? What did 
you say I cheated for? I don't cheat, and I 
won't let no man say I do !" 

The Swede said, " I saw you ! I saw you !" 

"Well," cried Johnnie, "I'll fight any man 
what says I cheat !" 

" No, you won't," said the cowboy. " Not 

"Ah, be still, can't you?" said Scully, com- 
ing between them. 

The quiet was sufficient to allow the East- 
erner's voice to be heard. He was repeating, 
" Oh, wait a moment, can't you ? What's the 

The Blue Hotel 

good of a fight over a game of cards ? Wait a 
moment !" 

Johnnie, his red face appearing above his 
father's shoulder, hailed the Swede again. " Did 
you say I cheated?" 

The Swede showed his teeth. *' Yes." 

"Then," said Johnnie, "we must fight." 

" Yes, fight," roared the Swede. He was like 
a demoniac. "Yes, fight ! I'll show you what 
kind of a man I am ! I'll show you who you 
want to fight! Maybe you think I can't fight! 
Maybe you think I can't ! I'll show you, you 
skin, you card-sharp ! Yes, you cheated ! You 
cheated ! You cheated !" 

" Well, let's go at it, then, mister," said John- 
nie, coolly. 

The cowboy's brow was beaded with sweat 
from his efforts in intercepting all sorts of raids. 
He turned in despair to Scully. "What are 
you goin' to do now ?" 

A change had come over the Celtic visage of 
the old man. He now seemed all eagerness; 
his eyes glowed. 

"We'll let them fight," he answered, stal- 
wartly. " I can't put up with it any longer. 
I've stood this damned Swede till I'm sick. 
We'll let them fight." 

The Blue Hotel 


The men prepared to go out-of-doors. The 
Easterner was so nervous that he had great 
difficulty in getting his arms into the sleeves 
of his new leather coat. As the cowboy drew 
his fur cap down over his ears his hands trem- 
bled. In fact, Johnnie and old Scully were 
the only ones who displayed no agitation. 
These preliminaries were conducted without 

Scully threw open the door. "Well, come 
on," he said. Instantly a terrific wind caused 
the flame of the lamp to struggle at its wick, 
while a puff of black smoke sprang from the 
chimney-top. The stove was in mid -current 
of the blast, and its voice swelled to equal the 
roar of the storm. Some of the scarred and 
bedabbled cards were caught up from the floor 
and dashed helplessly against the farther wall. 
The men lowered their heads and plunged into 
the tempest as into a sea. 

No snow was falling, but great whirls and 
clouds of flakes, swept up from the ground by 
the frantic winds, were streaming southward 
with the speed of bullets. The covered land 
was blue with the sheen of an unearthly satin, 
and there was no other hue save where, at the 

The Blue Hotel 

low, black railway station which seemed in- 
credibly distant one light gleamed like a tiny 
jewel. As the men floundered into a thigh- 
deep drift, it was known that the Swede was 
bawling out something. Scully went to him, 
put a hand on his shoulder and projected an 
ear. " What's that you say ?" he shouted. 

"I say," bawled the Swede again, "I won't 
stand much show against this gang. I know 
you'll all pitch on me." 

Scully smote him reproachfully on the arm. 
"Tut, man!" he yelled. The wind tore the 
words from Scully's lips and scattered them 
far alee. 

"You are all a gang of " boomed the 
Swede, but the storm also seized the remain- 
der of this sentence. 

Immediately turning their backs upon the 
wind, the men had swung around a corner to 
the sheltered side of the hotel. It was the 
function of the little house to preserve here, 
amid this great devastation of snow, an irreg- 
ular V-shape of heavily incrusted grass, which 
crackled beneath the feet. One could imagine 
the great drifts piled against the windward 
side. When the party reached the compara- 
tive peace of this spot it was found that the 
Swede was still bellowing. 

"Oh, I know what kind of a thing this is! 

The Blue Hotel 

I know you'll all pitch on me. I can't lick yoti 
all !" 

Scully turned upon him panther fashion. 
" You'll not have to whip all of us. You'll 
have to whip my son Johnnie. An' the man 
what troubles you durin' that time will have 
me to dale with." 

The arrangements were swiftly made. The 
two men faced each other, obedient to the 
harsh commands of Scully, whose face, in the 
subtly luminous gloom, could be seen set in 
the austere impersonal lines that are pictured 
on the countenances of the Roman veterans. 
The Easterner's teeth were chattering, and he 
was hopping up and down like a mechanical 
toy. The cowboy stood rock-like. 

The contestants had not stripped off any 
clothing. Each was in his ordinary attire. 
Their fists were up, and they eyed each other 
in a calm that had the elements of leonine 
cruelty in it. 

During this pauSe, the Easterner's mind, like 
a film, took lasting impressions of three men 
the iron-nerved master of the ceremony; the 
Swede, pale, motionless, terrible ; and Johnnie, 
serene yet ferocious, brutish yet heroic. The 
entire prelude had in it a tragedy greater than 
the tragedy of action, and this aspect was ac- 
centuated by the long, mellow cry of the bliz- 

The Blue Hotel 

zard, as it sped the tumbling and wailing flakes 
into the black abyss of the south. 

"Now!" said Scully. 

The two combatants leaped forward and 
crashed together like bullocks. There was 
heard the cushioned sound of blows, and of a 
curse squeezing out from between the tight 
teeth of one. 

As for the spectators, the Easterner's pent- 
up breath exploded from him with a pop of 
relief, absolute relief from the tension of the 
preliminaries. The cowboy bounded into the 
air with a yowl. Scully was immovable as 
from supreme amazement and fear at the 
fury of the fight which he himself had per- 
mitted and arranged. 

For a time the encounter in the darkness was 
such a perplexity of flying arms that it pre- 
sented no more detail than would a swiftly re- 
volving wheel. Occasionally a face, as if illu- 
mined by a flash of light, would shine out, 
ghastly and marked with pink spots. A mo- 
ment later, the men might have been known as 
shadows, if it were not for the involuntary utter- 
ance of oaths that came from them in whispers. 

Suddenly a holocaust of warlike desire caught 
the cowboy, and he bolted forward with the 
speed of a broncho. " Go it, Johnnie ! go it ! 
Kill him ! Kill him !" 


The Blue Hotel 

Scully confronted him. " Kape back," he 
said; and by his glance the cowboy could tell 
that this man was Johnnie's father. 

To the Easterner there was a monotony of 
unchangeable fighting that was an abomina- 
tion. This confused mingling was eternal to 
his sense, which was concentrated in a longing 
for the end, the priceless end. Once the fight- 
ers lurched near him, and as he scrambled has- 
tily backward he heard them breathe like men 
on the rack. 

"Kill him, Johnnie! Kill him! Kill him! 
Kill him !" The cowboy's face was contorted 
like one of those agony masks in museums. 

" Keep still," said Scully, icily. 

Then there was a sudden loud grunt, incom- 
plete, cut short, and Johnnie's body swung 
away from the Swede and fell with sickening 
heaviness to the grass. The cowboy was bare- 
ly in time to prevent the mad Swede from 
flinging himself upon his prone adversary. 
" No, you don't," said the cowboy, interposing 
an arm. " Wait a second." 

Scully was at his son's side. " Johnnie ! John- 
nie, me boy !" His voice had a quality of mel- 
ancholy tenderness. "Johnnie! Can you go 
on with it ?" He looked anxiously down into 
the bloody, pulpy face of his son. 

There was a moment of silence, and then 

The Blue Hotel 

Johnnie answered in his ordinary voice, "Yes, 
I it yes." 

Assisted by his father he struggled to his 
feet. "Wait a bit now till you git your wind," 
said the old man. 

A few paces away the cowboy was lecturing 
the Swede. " No, you don't ! Wait a second !" 

The Easterner was plucking at Scully's sleeve. 
"Oh, this is enough," he pleaded. "This is 
enough ! Let it go as it stands. This is 
enough !" 

" Bill," said Scully, " git out of the road." 
The cowboy stepped aside. "Now." The com- 
batants were actuated by a new caution as they 
advanced towards collision. They glared at 
each other, and then the Swede aimed a light- 
ning blow that carried with it his entire weight. 
Johnnie was evidently half stupid from weak- 
ness, but he miraculously dodged, ,and his fist 
sent the over-balanced Swede sprawling. 

The cowboy, Scully, and the Easterner burst 
into a cheer that was like a chorus of trium- 
phant soldiery, but before its conclusion the 
Swede had scuffled agilely to his feet and come 
in berserk abandon at his foe. There was an- 
other perplexity of flying arms, and Johnnie's 
body again swung away and fell, even as a 
bundle might fall from a roof. The Swede in- 
stantly staggered to a little wind-waved tree 

The Blue Hotel 

and leaned upon it, breathing like an engine, 
while his savage and flame-lit eyes roamed from 
face to face as the men bent over Johnnie. 
There was a splendor of isolation in his situa- 
tion at this time which the Easterner felt once 
when, lifting his eyes from the man on the 
ground, he beheld that mysterious and lonely 
figure, waiting. 

"Are you any good yet, Johnnie?" asked 
Scully in a broken voice. 

The son gasped and opened his eyes languid- 
ly. After a moment he answered, " No I 
ain't any good any more." Then, from 
shame and bodily ill, he began to weep, the 
tears furrowing down through the blood-stains 
on his face. " He was too too too heavy for 

Scully straightened and addressed the wait- 
ing figure. "Stranger," he said, evenly, "it's 
all up with our side." Then his voice changed 
into that vibrant huskiness which is commonly 
the tone of the most simple and deadly an- 
nouncements. "Johnnie is whipped." 

Without replying, the victor moved off on 
the route to the front door of the hotel. 

The cowboy was formulating new and un- 

spellable blasphemies. The Easterner was 

startled to find that they were out in a wind 

that seemed to come direct from the shadowed 

K 145 

The Blue Hotel 

arctic floes. He heard again the wail of the 
snow as it was flung to its grave in the south. 
He knew now that all this time the cold had 
been sinking into him deeper and deeper, and 
he wondered that he had not perished. He 
felt indifferent to the condition of the van- 
quished man. 

" Johnnie, can you walk ?" asked Scully. 

" Did I hurt hurt him any?" asked the son. 

"Can you walk, boy? Can you walk?" 

Johnnie's voice was suddenly strong. There 
was a robust impatience in it. " I asked you 
whether I hurt him any !" 

" Yes, yes, Johnnie," answered the cowboy, 
consolingly ; " he's hurt a good deal." 

They raised him from the ground, and as 
soon as he was on his feet he went tottering 
off, rebuffing all attempts at assistance. When 
the party rounded the corner they were fairly 
blinded by the pelting of the snow. It burned 
their faces like fire. The cowboy carried John- 
nie through the drift to the door. As they en- 
tered some cards again rose from the floor and 
beat against the wall. 

The Easterner rushed to the stove. He was 
so profoundly chilled that he almost dared to 
embrace the glowing iron. The Swede was 
not in the room. Johnnie sank into a chair, 
and, folding his arms on his knees, buried his 

The Blue Hotel 

face in them. Scully, warming one foot and 
then the other at a rim of the stove, muttered 
to himself with Celtic mourpfulness. The cow- 
boy had removed his fur cap, and with a dazed 
and rueful air he was running one hand through 
his tousled locks. From overhead they could 
hear the creaking of boards, as the Swede 
tramped here and there in his room. 

The sad quiet was broken by the sudden 
flinging open of a door that led towards the 
kitchen. It was instantly followed by an in- 
rush of women. They precipitated themselves 
upon Johnnie amid a chorus of lamentation. 
Before they carried their prey off to the 
kitchen, there to be bathed and harangued 
with that mixture of sympathy and abuse 
which is a feat of their sex, the mother 
straightened herself and fixed old Scully with 
an eye of stern reproach. " Shame be upon 
you, Patrick Scully !" she cried. '' Your own 
son, too. Shame be upon you !" 

"There, now! Be quiet, now!" said the old 
man, weakly. 

" Shame be upon you, Patrick Scully !" The 
girls, rallying to this slogan, sniffed disdainfully 
in the direction of those trembling accom- 
plices, the cowboy and the Easterner. Pres- 
ently they bore Johnnie away, and left the 
three men to dismal reflection. 

The Blue Hotel 


" I'd like to fight this here Dutchman my- 
self," said the cowboy, breaking a long silence. 

Scully wagged his head sadly. "No, that 
wouldn't do. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't 
be right." 

"Well, why wouldn't it?" argued the cow- 
boy. " I don't see no harm in it." 

" No," answered Scully, with mournful hero- 
ism. "It wouldn't be right. It was Johnnie's 
fight, and now we mustn't whip the man just 
because he whipped Johnnie." 

"Yes, that's true enough," said the cowboy; 
" but he better not get fresh with me, because 
I couldn't stand no more of it." 

"You'll not say a word to him," commanded 
Scully, and even then they heard the tread of 
the Swede on the stairs. His entrance was 
made theatric. He swept the door back with 
a bang and swaggered to the middle of the 
room. No one looked at him. "Well," he 
cried, insolently, at Scully, " I s'pose you'll tell 
me now how much I owe you ?' 

The old man remained stolid. "You don't 
owe me nothin'." 

" Huh !" said the Swede, " huh .' Don't owe 
'im nothin'." 


The Blue Hotel 

The cowboy addressed the Swede. "Stran- 
ger, I don't see how you come to be so gay 
around here." 

Old Scully was instantly alert. "Stop !" he 
shouted, holding his hand forth, fingers up- 
ward. " Bill, you shut up !" 

The cowboy spat carelessly into the sawdust- 
box. "I didn't say a word, did I?" he asked. 

" Mr. Scully," called the Swede, " how much 
do I owe you?" It was seen that he was at- 
tired for departure, and that he had his valise 
in his hand. 

" You don'-t owe me nothin'," repeated Scully 
in his same imperturbable way. 

" Huh !" said the Swede. " I guess you're 
right. I guess if it was any way at all, you'd 
owe me somethin'. That's what I guess." He 
turned to the cowboy. "* Kill him ! Kill him ! 
Kill him!'" he mimicked, and then guffawed 
victoriously. "'Kill him!'" He was convulsed 
with ironical humor. 

But he might have been jeering the dead. 
The three men were immovable and silent, 
staring with glassy eyes at the stove. 

The Swede opened the door and passed into 
the storm, giving one derisive glance backward 
at the still group. 

As soon as the door was closed, Scully and 
the cowboy leaped to their feet and began to 

The Blue Hotel 

curse. They trampled to and fro, waving 
their arms and smashing into the air with their 
fists. "Oh, but that was a hard minute!" 
wailed Scully. "That was a hard minute! 
Him there leerin' and scoffin' ! One bang at 
his nose was worth forty dollars to me that 
minute! How did you stand it, Bill?" 

" How did I stand it ?" cried the cowboy in a 
quivering voice. "How did I stand it? Oh !" 

The old man burst into sudden brogue. " I'd 
loike to take that Swade," he wailed, "and 
hould 'im down on a shtone flure and bate 'im 
to a jelly wid a shtick !" 

The cowboy groaned in sympathy. " I'd like 
to git him by the neck and ha-ammer him" 
he brought his hand down on a chair with a 
noise like a pistol-shot "hammer that there 
Dutchman until he couldn't tell himself from 
a dead coyote !" 

" I'd bate 'im until he " 

" I'd show Jiim some things^" 

And then together they raised a yearning, 
fanatic cry " Oh-o-oh ! if we only could " 


" Yes !" 

"And then I'd" 

" O-o-oh !" 

The Blue Hotel 


The Swede, tightly gripping his valise, tacked 
across the face of the storm as if he carried 
sails. He was follow^ing a line of little naked, 
gasping trees, which he knew must mark the 
way of the road. His face, fresh from the pound- 
ing of Johnnie's fists, felt more pleasure than 
pain in the wind and the driving snow. A 
number of square shapes loomed upon him 
finally, and he knew them as the houses of the 
main body of the town. He found a street 
and made travel along it, leaning heavily upon 
the wind whenever, at a corner, a terrific blast 
caught him. 

He might have been in a deserted village. 
We picture the world as thick with conquering 
and elate humanity, but here, with the bugles 
of the tempest pealing, it was hard to imagine 
a peopled earth. One viewed the existence of 
man then as a marvel, and conceded a glamour 
of wonder to these lice which were caused to 
cling to a whirling, fire-smote, ice-locked, dis- 
ease-stricken, space-lost bulb. The conceit of 
man was explained by this storm to be the very 
engine of life. One was a coxcomb not to die 
in it. However, the Swede found a saloon. 

In front of it an indomitable red light was 

The Blue Hotel 

burning, and the snow-flakes were made blood- 
color as they flew through the circumscribed 
territory of the lamp's shining. The Swede 
pushed open the door of the saloon and entered. 
A sanded expanse was before him, and at the 
end of it four men sat about a table drinking. 
Down one side of the room extended a radiant 
bar, and its guardian was leaning upon his 
elbows listening to the talk of the men at the 
table. The Swede dropped his valise upon the 
floor, and, smiling fraternally upon the bar- 
keeper, said, " Gimme some whiskey, will you ?" 
The man placed a bottle, a whiskey-glass, and 
a glass of ice -thick water upon the bar. The 
Swede poured himself an abnormal portion of 
whiskey and drank it in three gulps. " Pretty 
bad night," remarked the bartender, indif- 
ferently. He was making the pretension of 
blindness which is usually a distinction of his 
class ; but it could have been seen that he was 
furtively studying the half-erased blood-stains 
on the face of the Swede. " Bad night," he 
said again. 

"Oh, it's good enough for me," replied the 
Swede, hardily, as he poured himself some 
more whiskey. The barkeeper took his coin 
and manoeuvred it through its reception by 
the highly nickelled cash - machine. A bell 
rang ; a card labelled " 20 cts." had appeared. 

The Blue Hotel 

" No," continued the Swede, "this isn't too 
bad weather. It's good enough for me." 

"So?" murmured the barkeeper, languidly. 

The copious drams made the Swede's eyes 
swim, and he breathed a trifle heavier. "Yes, 
I like this weather. I like it. It suits me." It 
was apparently his design to impart a deep sig- 
nificance to these words. 

"So?" murmured the bartender again. He 
turned to gaze dreamily at the scroll-like birds 
and bird-like scrolls which had been drawn 
with soap upon the mirrors back of the bar. 

"Well, I guess I'll take another drink," said 
the Swede, presently. " Have something ?" 

" No, thanks ; I'm not drinkin'," answered 
the bartender. Afterwards he asked, " How 
did you hurt your face?" 

The Swede immediately began to boast 
loudly. "Why, in a fight. I thumped the 
soul out of a man down here at Scully's hotel." 

The interest of the four men at the table 
was at last aroused. 

"Who was it ?" said one. 

" Johnnie Scully," blustered the Swede. 
" Son of the man what runs it. He will be 
pretty near dead for some weeks, I can tell 
you. I made a nice thing of him, I did. He 
couldn't get up. They carried him in the 
house. Have a drink?" 

The Blue Hotel 

Instantly the men in some subtle way incased 
themselves in reserve. '' No, thanks," said one. 
The group was of curious formation. Two were 
prominent local business men ; one was the 
district-attorney ; and one was a professional 
gambler of the kind known as "square." But 
a scrutiny of the group would not have enabled 
an observer to pick the gambler from the men 
of more reputable pursuits. He was, in fact, 
a man so delicate in manner, when among 
people of fair class, and so judicious in his 
choice of victims, that in the strictly masculine 
part of the town's life he had come to be ex- 
plicitly trusted and admired. People called 
him a thoroughbred. The fear and contempt 
with which his craft was regarded was un- 
doubtedly the reason that his quiet dignity 
shone conspicuous above the quiet dignity 
of men who might be merely hatters, billiard- 
markers, or grocery-clerks. Beyond an occa- 
sional unwary traveller, who came by rail, this 
gambler was supposed to prey solely upon 
reckless and senile farmers, who, when flush 
with good crops, drove into town in all the 
pride and confidence of an absolutely invulner- 
able stupidity. Hearing at times in circuitous 
fashion of the despoilment of such a farmer, 
the important men of Romper invariably 
laughed in contempt of the victim, and, if they 

The Blue Hotel 

thought of the wolf at all, it was with a kind 
of pride at the knowledge that he would never 
dare think of attacking their wisdom and 
courage. Besides, it was popular that this 
gambler had a real wife and two real children 
in a neat cottage in a suburb, where he led an 
exemplary home life ; and when any one even 
suggested a discrepancy in his character, the 
crowd immediately vociferated descriptions of 
this virtuous family circle. Then men who 
led exemplary home lives, and men who did 
not lead exemplary home lives, all subsided in 
a bunch, remarking that there was nothing 
more to be said. 

However, when a restriction was placed 
upon him as, for instance, when a strong 
clique of members of the new Pollywog Club 
refused to permit him, even as a spectator, to 
appear in the rooms of the organization the 
candor and gentleness with which he accepted 
the judgment disarmed many of his foes and 
made his friends more desperately partisan. 
He invariably distinguished between himself 
and a respectable Romper man so quickly and 
frankly that his manner actually appeared to 
be a continual broadcast compliment. 

And one must not forget to declare the 
fundamental fact of his entire position in 
Romper. It is irrefutable that in all affairs 

The Blue Hotel 

outside of his business, in all matters that 
occur eternally and commonly between man 
and man, this thieving card-player was so 
generous, so just, so morale that, in a con- 
test, he could have put to flight the con- 
sciences of nine -tenths of the citizens of 

And so it happened that he was seated in 
this saloon with the two prominent local mer- 
chants and the district-attorney. 

The Swede continued to drink raw whiskey, 
meanwhile babbling at the barkeeper and try- 
ing to induce him to indulge in potations. 
"Come on. Have a drink. Come on. What 
no? Well, have a little one, then. By gawd, 
I've whipped a man to-night, and I want to 
celebrate. I whipped him good, too. Gentle- 
men," the Swede cried to the men at the table, 
"have a drink?" 

" Ssh !" said the barkeeper. 

The group at the table, although furtively 
attentive, had been pretending to be deep in 
talk, but now a man lifted his eyes towards the 
Swede and said, shortly, " Thanks. We don't 
want any more." 

At this reply the vSwede ruffled out his chest 
like a rooster. "Well," he exploded, "it seems 
I can't get anybody to drink with me in this 
town. Seems so, don't it? Well !" 

The Blue Hotel 

" Ssh !" said the barkeeper. 

" Say," snarled the Swede, " don't you try to 
shut me up. I won't have it. I'm a gentle- 
man, and I want people to drink with me. 
And I want 'em to drink with me now. Now 
do you understand ?" He rapped the bar with 
his knuckles. 

Years of experience had calloused the bar- 
tender. He merely grew sulky. " I hear you," 
he answered. 

*'Well," cried the Swede, "listen hard then. 
See those men over there? Well, they're going 
to drink with me, and don't you forget it. 
Now you watch." 

"Hi!" yelled the barkeeper, "this won't 

" Why won't it ?" demanded the Swede. He 
stalked over to the table, and by chance laid 
his hand upon the shoulder of the gambler. 
"How about this?" he asked, wrathfully. "I 
asked you to drink with me." 

The gambler simply twisted his head and 
spoke over his shoulder. "My friend, I don't 
know you." 

"Oh, hell !" answered the Swede, "come and 
have a drink." 

" Now, my boy," advised the gambler, kindly, 
"take your hand off my shoulder and go 'way 
and mind your own business." He was a little, 

The Blue Hotel 

slim man, and it seemed strange to hear him 
use this tone of heroic patronage to the burly- 
Swede. The other men at the table said 

"What ! You won't drink with me, you little 
dude? I'll make you then! I'll make you!" 
The Swede had grasped the gambler frenziedly 
at the throat, and was dragging him from his 
chair. The other men sprang up. The bar- 
keeper dashed around the corner of his bar. 
There was a great tumult, and then was seen 
a long blade in the hand of the gambler. It 
shot forward, and a human body, this citadel 
of virtue, wisdom, power, was pierced as easily 
as if it had been a melon. The Swede fell with 
a cry of supreme astonishment. 

The prominent merchants and the district- 
attorney must have at once tumbled out of the 
place backward. The bartender found himself 
hanging limply to the arm of- a chair and gaz- 
ing into the eyes of a murderer. 

" Henry," said the latter, as he wiped his 
knife on one of the towels that hung beneath 
the bar-rail, "you tell 'em where to find me. 
I'll be home, waiting for 'em." Then he van- 
ished. A moment afterwards the barkeeper 
was in the street dinning through the storm 
for help, and, moreover, companionship. 

The corpse of the Swede, alone in the saloon, 

The Blue Hotel 

had its eyes fixed upon a dreadful legend that 
dwelt atop of the cash-machine : " This regis- 
ters the amount of your purchase." 


Months later, the cowboy was frying pork 
over the stove of a little ranch near the Da- 
kota line, when there was a quick thud of 
hoofs outside, and presently the Easterner en- 
tered with the letters and the papers. 

"Well," said the Easterner at once, "the 
chap that killed the Swede has got three years. 
Wasn't much, was it?" 

"He has? Three years?" The cowboy 
poised his pan of pork, while he ruminated 
upon the news. "Three years. That ain't 

"No. It was a light sentence," replied the 
Easterner as he unbuckled his spurs. " Seems 
there was a good deal of sympathy for him in 

" If the bartender had been any good," ob- 
served the cowboy, thoughtfully, "he would 
have gone in and cracked that there Dutch- 
man on the head with a bottle in the begin- 
nin' of it and stopped all this here murderin'." 

" Yes, a thousand things might have hap- 
pened," said the Easterner, tartly. 

The Blue Hotel 

The cowboy returned his pan of pork to the 
fire, but his philosophy continued. " It's funny, 
ain't it? If he hadn't said Johnnie was cheatin' 
he'd be alive this minute. He was an awful 
fool. Game played for fun, too. Not for 
money. I believe he was crazy." 

" I feel ^orry for that gambler," said the 

" Oh, so do I," said the cowboy. " He don't 
deserve none of it for killin' who he did." 

"The Swede might not have been killed if 
everything had been square." 

'' Might not have been killed ?" exclaimed the 
cowboy. " Every thin' square? Why, when he 
said that Johnnie was cheatin' and acted like 
such a jackass? And then in the saloon he 
fairly walked up to git hurt?" With these ar- 
guments the cowboy browbeat the Easterner 
and reduced him to rage. 

" You're a fool !" cried the Easterner, vici- 
ously. " You're a bigger jackass than the 
Swede by a million majority. Now let me tell 
you one thing. Let me tell you something. 
Listen ! Johnnie was cheating !" 

"'Johnnie,' " said the cowboy, blankly. There 
was a minute of silence, and then he said, ro- 
bustly, "Why, no. The game was only for 

"Fun or not," said the Easterner, "Johnnie 

The Blue Hotel 

was cheating. I saw him. I know it. I saw 
him. And I refused to stand up and be a man. 
I let the Swede fight it out alone. And you 
you were simply puffing around the place and 
wanting to fight. And then old Scully him- 
self ! We are all in it ! This poor gambler 
isn't even a noun. He is kind of an adverb. 
Every sin is the result of a collaboration. We, 
five of us, have collaborated in the murder of 
this Swede. Usually there are from a dozen 
to forty women really involved in every mur- 
der, but in this case it seems to be only five 
men you, I, Johnnie, old Scully, and that fool 
of an unfortunate gambler came merely as a 
culmination, the apex of a human movement, 
and gets all the punishment." 

The cowboy, injured and rebellious, cried 
out blindly into this fog of mysterious theory: 
"Well, I didn't do anythin', did I?" 




Little Horace was walking home from 
school, brilliantly decorated by a pair of new 
red mittens. A number of boys were snowball- 
ing gleefully in a field. They 
hailed him. " Come on, Hor- 
ace! We're having a battle." 

Horace was sad. " No," he 
said, "I can't. I've got to go 
home." At noon his mother 
had admonished him : 
" Now, Horace, you come 
straight home as soon as 
school is out. Do you hear? 
And don't you get them nice 
new mittens all wet, either. 
Do you hear?" Also his 
aunt had said : " I declare, 
Emily, it's a shame the way 

His New Mittens 

you allow that child to ruin his things." She 
had meant mittens. To his mother, Horace had 
dutifully replied, " Yes'm." But he now loitered 




in the vicinity of the group of uproarious boys, 
who were yelling like hawks as the white balls 

Some of them immediately analyzed this ex- 
traordinary hesitancy. " Hah !" they paused to 
scoff, " afraid of your new mittens, ain't you?" 
Some smaller boys, who were not yet so wise in 
discerning motives, applauded this attack with 
unreasonable vehemence. '' A-fray-ed of his 
mit-tens ! A-fray-ed of his mit-tens." They 
sang these lines to cruel and monotonous music 
which is as old perhaps as American child- 
hood, and which it is the privilege of the 
emancipated adult to completely forget. " A- 
fray-ed of his mit-tens !" 

Horace cast a tortured glance towards his 
playmates, and then dropped his eyes to the 
1 66 

His New Mittens 

snow at his feet. Presently he turned to the 
trunk of one of the great maple -trees that 
lined the curb. He made a pretence of closely 
examining the rough and virile bark. To his 
mind, this familiar street of Whilomville 
seemed to grow dark in 
the thick shadow of shame. 
The trees and the houses 
were now palled in purple. 

"A-fray-ed of his mit- 
tens !" The terrible music 
had in it a meaning from 
the moonlit war -drums of 
chanting cannibals. 

At last Horace, with su- 
preme effort,raised his head. 
" 'Tain't them I care about," he said, gruffly. 
" I've got to go home. That's all." 

Whereupon each boy held his left forefinger 
as if it were a pencil and began to sharpen it 
derisively with his right forefinger. They 
came closer, and sang like a trained chorus, 
"A-fray-ed of his mittens !" 

When he raised his voice to deny the charge 
it was simply lost in the screams of the mob. 
He was alone, fronting all the traditions of boy- 
hood held before him by inexorable represen- 
tatives. To such a low state had he fallen that 
one lad, a mere baby, outflanked him and then 

His New Mittens 

struck him in the cheek with a heavy snow- 
ball. The act was acclaimed with loud jeers. 
Horace turned to dart at his assailant, but 
there was an immediate demonstration on the 
other flank, and he found himself obliged to 
keep his face towards the hilarious crew of tor- 
mentors. The baby retreated in safety to the 


rear of the crowd, where he was received with 
fulsome compliments upon his daring. Horace 
retreated slowly up the walk. He continually 
tried to make them heed him, but the only 
sound was the chant, "A-fray-ed of his mit- 
tens !" In this desperate withdrawal the beset 
1 68 

His New Mittens 

and haggard boy suffered more than is the 
common lot of man. 

Being a boy himself, he did not understand 
boys at all. He had, of course, the dismal con- 
viction that they were going to dog him to his 
grave. But near the corner of the field they 
suddenly seemed to forget all about it. Indeed, 
they possessed only the malevolence of so many 
flitter - headed sparrows. The interest had 
swung capriciously to some other matter. In 
a moment they were off 
in the field again, carous- 
ing amid the snow. Some 
authoritative boy had 
probably said, " Aw, come 

As the pursuit ceased, 
Horace ceased his retreat. 
He spent some time in 
what was evidently an at- 
tempt to adjust his self- 
respect, and then began to 
wander furtively down 
towards the group. He, too, had undergone 
an important change. Perhaps his sharp agony 
was only as durable as the malevolence of the 
others. In this boyish life obedience to some 
unformulated creed of manners was enforced 
with capricious but merciless rigor. How- 


His New Mittens 

ever, they were, after all, his comrades, his 

They did not heed his return. They were 
engaged in an altercation. It had evidently 
been planned that this battle was between Ind- 
ians and soldiers. The smaller and weaker 
boys had been induced to appear as Indians in 
the initial skirmish, but they were now very 
sick of it, and were reluctantly but steadfast- 
ly, affirming their desire for a change of caste. 
The larger boys had all won great distinction, 
devastating Indians materially, and they wished 
the war to go on as planned. They explained 
vociferously that it was proper for the sol- 
diers always to thrash the Indians. The lit- 
tle boys did not pretend to deny the truth of 
this argument ; they confined themselves to 
the simple statement that, in that case, they 
wished to be soldiers. Each little boy willing- 
ly appealed to the others to remain Indians, 
but as for himself he reiterated his desire 
to enlist as a soldier. The larger boys were 
in despair over this dearth of enthusiasm in 
the small Indians. They alternately wheedled 
and bullied, but they could not persuade the 
little boys, who were really suffering dread- 
ful humiliation rather than submit to another 
onslaught of soldiers. They were called all 
the baby names that had the power of sting- 

His New Mittens 

ing deep into their pride, but they remained 

Then a formidable lad, a leader of reputation, 
one who could whip many boys that wore long 
trousers, suddenly blew out his cheeks and 
shouted, "Well, all right then. I'll be an Ind- 
ian myself. Now." The little boys greeted 
with cheers this addition to their wearied 
ranks, and seemed then content. But matters 
were not mended in the least, because all of 
the personal following of the formidable lad, 
with the addition of every outsider, spontane- 
ously^forsook the flag and declared themselves 
Indians. There were now no soldiers. The 
Indians had carried everything unanimously. 
The formidable lad used his influence, but his 
influence could not shake the loyalty of his 
friends, who refused to fight under any colors 
but his colors. 

Plainly there was nothing for it but to co- 
erce the little ones. The formidable lad again 
became a soldier, and then graciously permit- 
ted to join him all the real fighting strength of 
the crowd, leaving behind a most forlorn band 
of little Indians. Then the soldiers attacked 
the Indians, exhorting them to opposition at 
the same time. 

The Indians at first adopted a policy of hur- 
ried surrender, but this had no success, as none 

His New Mittens 

of the surrenders were accepted. They then 
turned to flee, bawling out protests. The 
ferocious soldiers pursued them amid shouts. 
The battle widened, developing all manner of 
marvellous detail. 

Horace had turned towards home several 
times, but, as a matter of fact, this scene held 
him in a spell. It was fascinating beyond any- 
thing which the grown man understands. He 
had always in the back of his head a sense of 
guilt, even a sense of impending punishment 
for disobedience, but they could not weigh with 
the delirium of this snow-battle. 


One of the raiding soldiers, espying Horace, 
called out in passing, " A-fray-ed of his mit- 
tens !" Horace flinched at this renewal, and 
the other lad paused to taunt him again. Hor- 
ace scooped some snow, moulded it into a ball, 
and flung it at the other. " Ho !" cried the boy, 
" you're an Indian, are you ? Hey, fellers, here's 
an Indian that ain't been killed yet." He and 
Horace engaged in a duel in which both were 
in such haste to mould snowballs that they 
had little time for aiming. 

Horace once struck his opponent squarely in 

His New Mittens 

the chest. " Hey," he shouted, " you're dead. 
You can't fight any more, Pete. I killed you. 
You're dead." 

The other boy flushed red, but he continued 
frantically to make ammunition. "You never 
touched me !" he retorted, glowering. "You 
never touched me ! Where, now ?" he added, 
defiantly. " Where did you hit me ?" 

"On the coat ! Right on your breast ! You 
can't fight any more ! You're dead !" 

" You never !" 

" I did, too ! Hey, fellers, ain't he dead? I 
hit 'im square!" 

" He never !" 

Nobody had seen the affair, but some of the 
boys took sides in absolute accordance with 
their friendship for one of the concerned par- 
ties. Horace's opponent went about contend- 
ing, " He never touched me ! He never came 
near me ! He never came near me !" 

The formidable leader now came forward 
and accosted Horace. " What was you ? An 
Indian ? Well, then, you're dead that's all. 
He hit you. I saw him." 

" Me?" shrieked Horace. "He never came 
within a mile of me " 

At tLat moment he heard his name called in 
a certain familiar tune of two notes, with the 
last note shrill and prolonged. He looked tow- 

His New Mittens 

ards the sidewalk, and saw his mother stand- 
ing there in her widow's weeds, with two brown 
paper parcels under her arm. A silence had 
fallen upon all the boys. Horace moved slowly 
towards his mother. She did not seem to note 
his approach ; she was gazing austerely off 
through the naked branches of the maples 
where two crimson sunset bars lay on the deep 
blue sky. 

At a distance of ten paces Horace made a 
desperate venture. '' Oh, ma," he whined, 
"can't I stay out for a while ?" 

" No," she answered solemnly, " you come 
with me." Horace knew that profile ; it was 
the inexorable profile. But he continued to 
plead, because it was not beyond his mind that 
a great show of suffering now might diminish 
his suffering later. 

He did not dare to look back at his play- 
mates. It was already a public scandal that he 
could not stay out as late as other boys, and he 
could imagine his standing now that he had 
been again dragged off by his mother in sight 
of the whole world. He was a profoundly 
miserable human being. 

Aunt Martha opened the door for them. 
Light streamed about her straight skirt. " Oh," 
she said, " so you found him on the road, eh ? 
Well, I declare ! It was about time !" 

His New Mittens 

Horace slunk into the kitchen. The stove, 
straddling out on its four iron legs, was gently 
humming. Aunt Martha had evidently just 
lighted the lamp, for she went to it and began 
to twist the wick experimentally. 

" Now," said the mother, 
'' let's see them mittens." 
Horace's chin sank. The 
aspiration of the criminal, the passionate de- 
sire for an asylum from retribution, from jus- 

His New Mittens 

tice, was aflame in his heart. " I I don't 
don't know where they are," he gasped finally, 
as he passed his hand over his pockets. 

" Horace," intoned his mother, "you are tell- 
in' me a story !" 

'"Tain't a story," he answered, just above 
his breath. He looked like a sheep-stealer. 

His mother held him by the arm, and began 
to search his pockets. Almost at once she was 
able to bring forth a pair of very wet mittens. 
" Well, I declare !" cried Aunt Martha. The 
two women went close to the lamp, and mi- 
nutely examined the mittens, turning them 
over and over. Afterwards, when Horace 
looked up, his mother's sad-lined, homely face 
was turned towards him. He burst into tears. 

His mother drew a chair near the stove. 
"Just you sit there now, until I tell you to git 
off." He sidled meekly into the chair. His 
mother and his aunt went briskly about the 
business of preparing supper. They did not 
display a knowledge of his existence ; they car- 
ried an effect of oblivion so far that they even 
did not speak to each other. Presently they 
went into the dining and living room ; Horace 
could hear the dishes rattling. His Aunt 
Martha brought a plate of food, placed it on a 
chair near him, and went away without a word. 

Horace instantly decided that he would not 

His New Mittens 

touch a morsel of the food. He had often used 
this ruse in dealing with his mother. He did 
not know why it 
brought her to 
terms, but certainly 
it sometimes did. 

The mother look- 
ed up when the aunt 
returned to the oth- 
er room. "Is he eat- 
in' his supper?" she 

The maiden aunt, 
fortified in igno- 
rance, gazed with 
pity and contempt 
upon this interest. 
" Well, now, Emily, 
how do I know ?" she 

queried. " Was I goin' to stand over 'im ? Of 
all the worryin' you do about that child ! It's 
a shame the way you're bringin' up that 

''Well, he ought to eat somethin'. It won't 
do fer him to go without eatin'," the mother 
retorted, weakly. 

Aunt Martha, profoundly scorning the policy 
of concession which these words meant, uttered 
a long, contemptuous sigh. 
M 177 


His New Mittens 


Alone in the kitchen, Horace stared with 
sombre eyes at the plate of food. For a long 
time he betrayed no sign of yielding. His 
mood was adamantine. He was resolved not 
to sell his vengeance for bread, cold ham, and 
a pickle, and yet it must be known that the 
sight of them affected him powerfully. The 
pickle in particular was notable for its seduc- 
tive charm. He surveyed it darkly. 

But at last, unable to longer endure his state, 
his attitude in the presence of the pickle, he 
put out an inquisitive finger and touched it, 
and it was cool and green and plump. Then a 
full conception of the cruel woe of his situation 
swept upon him suddenly, and his eyes filled 
with tears, which began to move down his 
cheeks. He sniffled. His heart was black 
with hatred. He painted in his mind scenes 
of deadly retribution. His mother would be 
taught that he was not one to endure persecu- 
tion meekly, without raising an arm in his de- 
fence. And so his dreams were of a slaughter 
of feelings, and near the end of them his mother 
was pictured as coming, bowed with pain, to 
his feet. Weeping, she implored his charity. 
Would he forgive her? No; his once tender 

His New Mittens 

heart had been turned to stone by her injustice. 
He could not forgive her. She must pay the 
inexorable penalty. 


The first item in 
this horrible plan was 
the refusal of the 
food. This he knew 
by experience would 
work havoc in his 
mother's heart. And 
so he grimly waited. 

But suddenly it 
occurred to him that 

the first part of his revenge was in danger of fail- 
ing. The thought struck him that his mother 
might not capitulate in the usual way. Accord- 
ing to his recollection, the time was more than 
due when she should come in, worried, sadly 
affectionate, and ask him if he was ill. It had 
then been his custom to hint in a resigned 
voice that he was the victim of secret disease, 
but that he preferred to suffer in silence and 
alone. If she was obdurate in her anxiety, he 

His New Mittens 

always asked her in a gloomy, low voice to go 
away and leave him to suffer in silence and 
alone in the darkness without food. He had 
known this manoeuvring to result even in pie. 

But what was the meaning of the long pause 
and the stillness ? Had his old and valued ruse 
betrayed him ? As the truth sank into his mind, 
he supremely loathed life, the world, his mother. 
Her heart was beating back the besiegers ; he 
was a defeated child. 

He wept for a time before deciding upon the 
final stroke. He would 
run away. In a remote 
corner of the world he 
would become some sort 
of bloody-handed person 
driven to a life of crime 
by the barbarity of his 
mother. She should 
never know his fate. 
He would torture her 
for years with doubts 
and doubts, and drive 
her implacably to a re- 
pentant grave. Nor 
Aunt Martha escape. Some 





day, a century hence, when his mother 
was dead, he would write to his Aunt Martha, 
and point out her part in the blighting of his 
1 80 

His New Mittens 

life. For one blow against him now he would, 
in time, deal back a thousand aye, ten thou- 

He arose and took his coat and cap. As he 
moved stealthily towards the door he cast a 




glance backward at the pickle. He was tempted 
to take it, but he knew that if he left the plate 
inviolate his mother would feel even worse. 

A blue snow was falling. People, bowed for- 
ward, were moving briskly along the walks. 
The electric lamps hummed amid showers of 
flakes. As Horace emerged from the kitchen, 
a shrill squall drove the flakes around the cor- 
ner of the house. He cowered away from it, 

His New Mittens 

and its violence illumined his mind vaguely in 
new directions. He deliberated upon a choice 
of remote corners of the globe. He found that 
he had no plans which were definite enough in 
a geographical way, but without much loss of 
time he decided upon California. He moved 
briskly as far as his mother's front gate on the 
road to California. He was off at last. His 
success was a trifle dreadful ; his throat choked. 

But at the gate he paused. He did not know 
if his journey to California would be shorter if 
he went down Niagara Avenue or off through 
Hogan Street. As the storm was very cold 
and the point was very important, he decided 
to withdraw for reflection to the wood -shed. 
He entered the dark shanty, and took seat upon 
the old chopping-block upon which he was sup- 
posed to perform for a few minutes every after- 
noon when he returned from school. The wind 
screamed and shouted at the loose boards, and 
there was a rift of snow on the floor to leeward 
of a crack. 

Here the idea of starting for California on 
such a night departed from his mind, leaving 
him ruminating miserably upon his martyrdom. 
He saw nothing for it but to sleep all night in 
the wood-shed and start for California in the 
morning bright and early. Thinking of his 
bed, he kicked over the floor and found that the 

His New Mittens 

innumerable chips were all frozen tightly, bed- 
ded in ice. 

Later he viewed with joy some signs of ex- 
citement in the house. The flare of a lamp 
moved rapidly from window to window. Then 
the kitchen door slammed loudly and a shawled 
figure sped towards the gate. At last he was 
making them feel his power. The shivering 
child's face was lit with saturnine glee as in the 
darkness of the wood-shed he gloated over the 
evidences of consternation in his home. The 
shawled figure had been his Aunt Martha dash- 
ing with the alarm to the neighbors. 

The cold of the wood-shed was tormenting 
him. He endured only because of the terror he 
was causing. But then it occurred to him that, 
if they instituted a search for him, they would 
probably examine the wood-shed. He knew that 
it would not be manful to be caught so soon. 
He was not positive now that he was going to 
remain away forever, but at any rate he was 
bound to inflict some more damage before al- 
lowing himself to be captured. If he merely 
succeeded in making his mother angry, she 
would thrash him on sight. He must prolong 
the time in order to be safe. If he held out 
properly, he was sure of a welcome of love, 
even though he should drip with crimes. 

Evidently the storm had increased, for when 

His New Mittens 

he went out it swung him violently with its 
rough and merciless strength. Panting, stung, 
half blinded with the driving flakes, he was 
now a waif, exiled, friendless, and poor. With 
a bursting heart, he thought of his home and 
his mother. To his forlorn vision they were 
as far away as heaven. 


Horace was undergoing changes of feeling so 
rapidly that he was merely moved hither and 
then thither like a kite. He was now aghast 
at the merciless ferocity of his mother. It was 
she who had thrust him into this wild storm, 
and she was perfectly indifi^erent to his fate, 
perfectly indifferent. The forlorn wanderer 
could no longer weep. The strong sobs caught 
at his throat, making his breath come in short, 
quick snuffles. All in him was conquered save 
the enigmatical childish ideal of form, manner. 
This principle still held out, and it was the only 
thing between him and submission. When he 
surrendered, he must surrender in a way that 
deferred to the undefined code. He longed 
simply to go to the kitchen and stumble in, but 
his unfathomable sense of fitness forbade him. 

Presently he found himself at the head of 

His New Mittens 

Niagara Avenue, staring through the snow into 
the blazing windows of Stickney's butcher-shop. 
Stickney was the family butcher, not so much 
because of a superiority to other Whilomville 
butchers as because he lived next door and had 
been an intimate friend of the father of Horace. 
Rows of glowing pigs hung head downward 
back of the tables, which bore huge pieces of 
red beef. Clumps of attenuated turkeys were 
suspended here and 
there. Stickney, 
hale and smiling, 
was bantering with 
a woman in a cloak, 
who, with a mon- 
ster basket on her 
arm, was dickering 
for eight cents' 
worth of some- 
thing. Horace watched 
them through a crusted 
pane. When the woman 
came out and passed him, 
he went towards the door. 
He touched the latch with 
his finger, but withdrew 
again suddenly to the sidewalk. Inside Stick- 
ney was whistling cheerily and assorting his 



OF something" 

His New Mittens 

Finally Horace went desperately forward, 
opened the door, and entered the shop. His 

"his head hung low" 

head hung low. Stickney stopped whistling. 
"Hello, young man," he cried, "what brings 
you here?" 

Horace halted, but said nothing. He swung 
one foot to and fro over the saw-dust floor. 

His New Mittens 

Stickney had placed his two fat hands palms 
downward and wide apart on the table, in the 
attitude of a butcher facing a customer, but 
now he straightened. 

"Here," he said, "what's wrong? What's 
wrong, kid?" 

" Nothin'," answered Horace, huskily. He 
labored for a moment with something in his 
throat, and afterwards added, "O'ny I've 
I've run away, and " 

" Run away !" shouted Stickney. " Run 
away from what? Who?" 

" From home," answered Horace. " I don't 
like it there any more. I " He had arranged 
an oration to win the sympathy of the butcher ; 
he had prepared a table setting forth the merits 
of his case in the most logical fashion, but it 
was as if the wind had been knocked out of his 
mind. "I've run away. I" 

Stickney reached an enormous hand over the 
array of beef, and firmly grappled the emigrant. 
Then he swung himself to Horace's side. His 
face was stretched with laughter, and he play- 
fully shook his prisoner. "Come come 
come. What dashed nonsense is this? Run 
away, hey? Run away?" Whereupon the 
child's long-tried spirit found vent in howls. 

"Come, come," said Stickney, busily. " Never 
mind now, never mind. You just come along 

His New Mittens 

with me. It '11 be all right. I'll fix it. Never 
you mind." 

Five minutes later the butcher, with a 
great ulster over his apron, was leading the 
boy homeward. 


At the very threshold, Horace raised his last 
flag of pride. " No no," he sobbed. " I don't 
want to. I don't want to go in there." He 
braced his foot against the step and made a 
very respectable resistance. 

" Now, Horace," cried the butcher. He 
thrust open the door with a bang. " Hello 
there!" Across the dark kitchen the door to 
the living-room opened and Aunt Martha ap- 
peared. " You've found him !" she screamed. 
1 88 

His. New Mittens 

"We've come to make a call," roared the 
butcher. At the entrance to the living-room 
a silence fell upon them all. Upon a couch 
Horace saw his mother lying limp, pale as 
death, her eyes gleaming with pain. There 
was an electric pause before she swung a 
waxen hand towards Horace. " My child," 
she murmured, tremulously. Whereupon the 
sinister person addressed, with a prolonged 
wail of grief and joy, ran to her with speed. 
"Mam-ma! Mam-ma! Oh, mam-ma!" She 
was not able to speak in a known tongue as 
she folded him in her weak arms. 

Aunt Martha turned defiantly upon the 
butcher because her face betrayed her. She 
was crying. She made a gesture half mili- 
tary, half feminine. "Won't you have a glass 
of our root-beer, Mr. Stickney ? We make it 



The spirit of fun is found to a j^reater or less degree in all 
of the sketches, but at times tlie fun borders on the tragic so 
tjlosely that the dividing line between laughter and tears al- 
most fades out of sight. Brooklyn Eagle. 


The autlior is so good-lunnored, quaint, and clever that she 
has not left a dull page in her book. Saturday Evening Ga- 
zette., Boston. 


Novel. NevkT Edition. 
Written from the heart and with rare sympathy. . . . The 
writer has a natural and fluent style, and her dialect has the 
double excellence of being novel and scanty. The scenes are 
picturesque and diversified. Churchman, N. Y. 

a Portrait of the Author. 
This is a tenderly beautiful story. . . . This book is Miss 
Bell's best effort, and most in the line of what we hope to see 
her proceed in, dainty and keen and bright, and always full 
of the fine warmth and tenderness of splendid womanhood. 
Interior, Chicago. 


So much sense, sentiment, and humor are not often united 
in a single volume. Observer, N. Y. 

16mo, Cloth, Ornamental, Uncut Edges and Gilt Tops, 
$1 25 per volume. 

HARPER & BROTHERS, Publishers 


^^Any of the above works will he sent by mail, 'postage 
prepaid, to any part of the United States, Canada, or 
Mexico, on receipt of the price. 


Illustrated by R. Caton VVoodville, T. de Tiiul- 
STRUP, ami EKEDKiiic Remington, and from Photo- 
graphs taken by the Author. $1 50. 

TRAL AMERICA. Illustrated. $1 50. 

ABOUT PARIS. Illustrated by C. D. Gibson. $1 25. 

THE PRINCESS ALINE. Illustrated by C. D. 
Gibson. $1 25. 

0(1. $1 50. 

VAN BIBP,I:R. and OTHERS. Illustrated by C. D. 
Gibson, $1 00 ; Paper, 60 cents. 

by Frederic Remington. $1 25. 

OUR ENGLISH COUSINS. Illustrated. $1 25. 


Illustrated. $1 25. 

Post 8 CO, Cloth, Ornamental 

Mr. Davis has eyes to see, is not a bit afraid to tell wliat 
he sees, and is essentially good natured. . . . Mr. Davis's 
faculty of appreciation and enjoytnent is fresh and strong: 
he makes vivid pictures. Outlook, N. Y. 

Richard Harding Davis never writes a short story that he 
does not prove liiinself a master of the art. Chicago 'Jimes. 

HARPER & BROTHERS, Publishkrs 


^^^ Any of the above works will be sent by mail, postage 
prepaid, to any part of i/ic United iStateH, Canada, or 
Mexico, OH receipt of t/ie price.